Space for Everyone
NASA recently launched its Artemis program. The plan is to send astronauts to the moon for the first time in more than 50 years. Among them will be the first woman and the first person of color to land on the moon.
I asked NASA deputy administrator Pam Melroy about this. “NASA is the American space agency,” she says. “Our astronauts are the face of America.”
As deputy administrator, Melroy works closely with the senior leaders at NASA. “When they have challenges, I try to help them,” she says. “That’s ultimately what a leader does: You try to empower the people who work for you and help them solve their problems.”
Melroy is a former astronaut. She says it’s important for kids—future scientists and astronauts—to have role models. She didn’t have them when she was growing up. “We can do better,” she says. “In our new astronaut class, there are women and men, and there are people of color. They’re all super smart. It will be helpful for everybody to see that space is for everyone.”
I asked Melroy about her vision for the future of NASA. She said, “My vision is to set up a blueprint for how we’re going to do exploration all the way out to Mars, and maybe beyond.”
She told me, “In 20 years, you might be working for NASA. So I’m already thinking about you, and how I’m going to have to be ready for you.”
This story was originally published in TIME for Kids on February 8, 2022.