Guest “what a journey that would be” by David Middleton
Hat tip to Mrs. Middleton…
NEWS Q&A 19 MAY 2020
The first footprints on Mars could belong to this geologist
NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins is at the forefront of a new crop of space explorers destined for the Moon, and maybe one day, Mars.
Jessica Watkins spent her PhD studying landslides on Mars. Now she is among the few humans with a shot at being the first to walk on the red planet.
In January, Watkins graduated as a member of NASA’s newest astronaut class. As a planetary geologist, she is a leading candidate to participate in the agency’s Artemis programme, which aims to send people back to the Moon by the end of 2024. Further down the line — Watkins is only 32 years old — there might even be a trip to Mars.
What kind of training did your astronaut class get in field geology?
That was one of the most fun parts for me. We went to New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, and a lot of the locations where the Apollo guys trained. We were literally following in their footsteps. We went to lots of lava flows, just really trying to get a good understanding of what types of rocks we may encounter and how to observe and document them — learning just enough skills to enable scientists here on the ground to do their own investigations with the data the crew are obtaining.