NASA Is Finally Sending a Woman to the Moon...in 2024

NASA unveiled plans to send the first woman to the moon on Monday.

The woman astronaut, whom has not yet been determined, along with her male counterpart will take part of the administration's Artemis program, which aims to return humans back to the moon in 2024. Mankind has not touched the surface of the moon since the historic Apollo lunar mission, during which Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins became the first people to ever land and set foot on the moon in 1972.

The astronauts will launch beyond the Earth's hemisphere in highly advanced new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which will land them on the lunar South Pole. The team will have to cross some 240,000 miles aboard the Orion spacecraft—said to resemble the the space capsule used in the Apollo mission—before they reach lunar orbit. Once there though, they'll board NASA's new commercial human landing systems while inspecting the aircraft at the Gateway dock and preparing their essential items needed to breach the surface of the moon.

The #Artemis program is well underway! Learn more about @NASA’s lunar exploration plans including how we will land the first woman and the next man on the Moon in 2024: https://t.co/mj1GwwV61S

— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) September 21, 2020

Astronauts will collect moon samples and perform a series of experiments for about seven days before they make the trip back to Earth.

"With bipartisan support from Congress, our 21st-century push to the Moon is well within America's reach," Jim Bridenstine, NASA's administrator, said in a release statement. "As we've solidified more of our exploration plans in recent months, we've continued to refine our budget and architecture. We're going back to the Moon for scientific discovery, economic benefits, and inspiration for a new generation of explorers. As we build up a sustainable presence, we're also building momentum toward those first human steps on the Red Planet."

Seeing the mission through to completion will cost about $28 billion, according to Bridenstine, which the department has been requested from Congress. However, NASA needs $3.2 billion in government funding in the next few months to ensure that the program stays on schedule.

"The $28 billion represents the costs associated for the next four years in the Artemis program to land on the Moon. SLS funding, Orion funding, the human landing system and of course the spacesuits - all of those things that are part of the Artemis program are included," he said while speaking with the press on Monday.

Bridenstine added: "The budget request that we have before the House and the Senate right now includes $3.2 billion for 2021 for the human landing system. It is critically important that we get that $3.2 billion.

NASA will begin testing out flight missions robotically in preparation for human launch as early as 2021.

NASA Plans to Send Woman to Moon
The moon is seen alongside planet Mars on September 5, 2020, in Cali, Colombia. LUIS ROBAYO/AFP via Getty Images

While it's unclear the timeline of funding, NASA has the support of President Donald Trump's administration to see the mission through. Vice President Mike Pence tweeted his excitement to possibly witness the return of man and the first woman walk the moon on Monday.

"Under President @realDonaldTrump, @NASA revived American human space exploration as we work to put the first woman on the Moon & the first man & woman on Mars! The Artemis Plan shows we're on our way to this goal as we restore American leadership in space!" Pence wrote.

Under President @realDonaldTrump, @NASA revived American human space exploration as we work to put the first woman on the Moon & the first man & woman on Mars! The Artemis Plan shows we're on our way to this goal as we restore American leadership in space! https://t.co/Y75KKMIMtZ

— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) September 21, 2020