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'Artemis' Astronaut Reflects On NASA's Mission To Land First Woman On The Moon

NASA’s Artemis program plans to land the first woman on the moon by 2024. Half of the Artemis team is composed of women, including Jessica Meir, who grew up in Caribou, Maine.

In a recent interview on NEXT, Meir traced her career ambitions back to the first grade, when the teacher instructed students to draw a picture of what they wanted to be when they grew up. Meir drew herself, standing on the lunar surface in a spacesuit with the American flag.

“And I never stopped saying it after that,” Meir said.

In October 2019, Meir accomplished her first spacewalk. She and astronaut Christina Koch were tasked with making a repair on the International Space Station, making history as members of the first all-women spacewalk. It wasn’t without risk -- Meir remembered looking down, and all she saw was her feet and the blackness of space.

NASA has yet to announce which astronauts will participate in the Artemis lunar landing, but Meir hopes to be chosen.

“I wouldn’t want to be the first person just for me,” she said. “It would be really to pay homage to the other women who came before me, and to continue to celebrate them and continue to inspire all those in the next generation.”

The interview was part of the March 11 episode of NEXT from the New England News Collaborative. Listen to the entire episode here.

Morgan Springer is the host/producer for the weekly show NEXT and the New England News Collaborative, a ten-station consortium of public radio newsrooms. She joined WNPR in 2019. Before working at Connecticut Public Radio, Morgan was the news director at Interlochen Public Radio in northern Michigan, where she launched and co-hosted a weekly show Points North.

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