NASA’s Nelson: Astronauts are no longer exclusive to white men

 

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NASA Administrator Bill Nelson Center hears engineering students from FAMU-FSU College of Engineering explain their projects during a visit to the Challenger Learning Center on Friday, October 1, 2021, in Tallahassee, Florida .

Being an astronaut is no longer an exclusive white men’s club, NASA administrator Bill Nelson said Friday as he told students that the first woman and the first person of color will soon land on the moon.

Nelson told a group of high school students and students at Florida A&M-Florida State College of Engineering that, unlike the Apollo missions to the Moon, the return of the Artemis Program will be led by a diverse group of astronauts. .

“The body of astronauts looks very different. Not everyone is a white male test driver, now they are women, they are people of color, they are doctors, they are doctors and they are scientists, ”said Nelson. “They are faces just like your faces. The faces of America ”.

The students enthusiastically applauded the idea.

Nelson, 79, was a Democratic congressman when he boarded the space shuttle Columbia on January 12, 1986. He later served three terms in the United States Senate.

Nelson talked about using the moon dust as a material to make concrete and build structures on the moon. He imagined it as a “gas station” for rockets on missions to Mars, which goes to the frozen water of the south pole of the sphere and turned it into hydrogen and oxygen for fuel.

In an interview  Nelson said recent rocket flights into space by billionaires Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos, combined with images of the Mars rover, have created a new illusion about the space.

“There’s been an unusual press attention on these things … This galvanizes America’s attention and excites them through space,” Nelson said. “The novelty of these space tourists boarding an automated SpaceX capsule, all this combined is an addition to make the space more accessible for the average Joe.”

Although he said the average Joe will not go up into space soon.

“It’s going to take a long time because it’s still expensive to go into space, but you have to start somewhere,” Nelson said.

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