Acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk revealed the additional mission objective in a news release Friday praising a freshly released Biden administration budget proposal that would give the agency $24.7 billion.
“We know this funding increase comes at a time of constrained resources, and we owe it to the president and the American people to be good and responsible stewards of every tax dollar invested in NASA,” Jurczyk said. “The NASA workforce and the American people should be encouraged by what they see in this funding request. It is an investment in our future, and it shows confidence in what this agency has to offer.”
While praising the budget proposal, Jurczyk slipped in the detail about sending the first person of color to the moon.
“[The funding] keeps NASA on the path to landing the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon under the Artemis program,” the statement said. “This goal aligns with President Biden’s commitment to pursue a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all.”
Only 12 people have ever stepped foot on the moon – all Americans and all men. But the most recent landing came almost 50 years ago. Apollo 17, the final mission of NASA’s Apollo program, took place in 1972.
When NASA announced the Artemis program under President Trump in 2019, the space agency pledged to land the “first woman and next man” on the lunar surface within five years.
After that, the next goal is sending astronauts to Mars.