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First person on Mars "likely" to be a woman, says NASA

First person on Mars

The budget fully funds SLS and Orion, and Exploration Ground Systems to launch at the earliest technically available Exploration Mission-1 and Exploration Mission-2 launch dates.

Bridenstine said the SLS program would continue, with a "full-up green run test" to be conducted at NASA's Stennis Space Center in MS in preparation for the crewed EM-2 launch, which is now scheduled for 2023.

If that comes to fruition, it would mark a radical change from the way NASA had planned to return to the moon and would be a blow to the Space Launch System, involving a enormous rocket that a government watchdog recently warned could cost as much as $9 billion.

The compromise in the 2010 NASA Authorization Act was allowing NASA to proceed with commercial crew, but also requiring NASA to build a new big rocket, SLS, and a Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) to takes humans beyond LEO.

The head of NASA has said the first person on Mars is "likely to be a woman", just days ahead of the first all-female spacewalk.

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A test expected to take place in June will put the Orion crew capsule's safety measures through their paces. Bridenstine also highlighted how NASA aims to send a female cosmonaut as the next first person on the moon, The New York Post reported.

"NASA is committed to making sure we have a broad and diverse set of talent", Bridenstine said.

Mr Bridenstine told a Senate committee that two private rockets would be needed, one to launch the Orion crew capsule and its European-built service module, the other to launch an upper stage. Then, they thermally desorb and can bounce to a nearby location that is cold enough for the molecule to stick or populate the Moon's exosphere, until temperatures drop and the molecules return to the surface.

"Our results aid in understanding the lunar water cycle and will ultimately help us learn about accessibility of water that can be used by humans in future missions to the Moon", said Dr. Amanda Hendrix, a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute. NASA Goddard scientists led by Barbara Cohen and Natalie Curran will look deep into the geologic history of the Apollo 17 site by determining its age from the presence of certain gases. ULA, Northrop Grumman, SpaceX and Blue Origin are among the companies planning and/or developing more capable rockets than they have now, although SpaceX is the only one to fly one so far - the Falcon Heavy.

The future of Nasa will see a lot of attention given to the Moon. Funding for the development of the rocket in 2020 will account for $1.7 billion of NASA's budget, down by $375 million from 2019.