First Woman on the Moon Could Have Northern California Ties

Throughout history, there have been 12 people who have walked on the moon -- all of whom were men.

Soon, the first woman could be walking on the lunar surface.

In March, Vice President Mike Pence announced NASA would have a new target of getting back to the moon by 2024 as part of its Artemis program.

This time, NASA is planning to bring a woman astronaut.

“We’re looking for, of course, the most qualified candidates and we have some amazingly talented and highly qualified candidates,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said.

Bridenstine has narrowed the list of who could become the first woman on the moon.

“She is already in the astronaut corps,” he said. “It will be somebody who has been proven, somebody who has flown, someone who has already been on the International Space Station already.”

Of the 38 active astronauts in NASA’s astronaut corps, 12 are women.

“Any of these ladies would do an amazing job,” Janet Ivey, National Space Society board of governors member, told FOX40.

She says several of the potential candidates have Northern California ties.

Nicole Mann was born in Petaluma and has been in the astronaut program since 2013.

“She was a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps, she served as a test pilot for the FA-18 Hornet and Super Hornet,” Ivey said, “She’s been deployed twice aboard aircraft carriers in support of operations in Afghanistan.”

Trained as an engineer, Mann helped develop NASA’s Orion spacecraft, which the space agency plans to use for the lunar mission.

Kate Rubins grew up in Napa and her mother currently lives in Davis.

“She has a very different kind of background. She actually graduated with a degree in molecular biology and she is a biochemistry and microbiology expert,” Ivey said.

Rubins was selected for NASA’s Astronaut Corps in 2009 and logged 115 days in space aboard the International Space Station in 2016.

Megan McArthur grew up in San Jose, flying as an astronaut since 2000.

“She studied oceanography so she’s kind of got the marine biologist kind of thing behind her,” Ivey told FOX40.

McArthur served as the mission specialist on board the final space shuttle journey to the Hubble telescope in 2009.

“She’s even currently providing support for crews in training aboard the International Space Station. I believe she’s already spent about 13 days in space,” Ivey said. “And to see a female set bootprints on the moon will be quite exciting.”

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