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Women are less supportive of space exploration – getting a woman on the Moon might change that

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 BY WENDY WHITMAN

U.S. Air Force School of Advanced Air and Space Studies

 

In March 2019, Vice President Mike Pence stated that the goal of NASA should be to return humans to the Moon by 2024. While the cost of such a venture isn’t known yet, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has supported the effort and gone as far as naming the 2024 Moon mission, Artemis.

The selection of Artemis is no mistake. In Greek mythology, Artemis was the sister of Apollo as well as goddess of the Moon. The name also signals a new focus on the role of women in space exploration. 

From my perspective as a space policy analyst, this is an important message for NASA to send. Women have been historically excluded from the space program, especially early on. While women have made inroads both as astronauts and more generally within the NASA ranks since, there remains a significant gender gap in support for space exploration.


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