NASA Administrator Talks Training, Future Missions with Newest Astronaut Class
Well. Ladies and gentlemen thank, you for watching, welcome to watch this space I'm the NASA Administrator Jim, bridenstine and, we have a lot of really exciting things to share today the video you just watched, was. A video, of some, of America's finest, and in fact some of Canada's, finest, these are our, new generation, of astronauts, we call them astronaut, candidates, and today, we're gonna have an opportunity to meet them but know, this NASA. Is on the brink of doing, some amazing things we. Are for the first time since 2011 on, the, precipice, of launching, American, astronauts, from American, soil on American, Rockets this. Hasn't been done since the retirement of the space shuttle and next. Year we're, gonna do just that and these astronauts, are gonna go to the International. Space Station on what, we call Commercial. Crew in other, words NASA isn't purchasing. Owning, and operating these, rockets as we have in the past NASA, is buying a service from, our Commercial, Crew providers, in this, case, SpaceX. And Boeing and. The Boeing, vehicle, will be launching on a United, Launch Alliance, rocket. So this, is an exciting time the idea being we can drive down cost and increase, access when, nasa is one, customer of many customers, with, providers, that are competing on cost and innovation, in. Low-earth orbit so this is exciting for the United States of America, it's exciting, for NASA and here's, the big reason, why we're doing this with Commercial, Crew because, if we can drive down cost, and commercialize, low-earth orbit, we, can go further the, president, has put out space policy, directive, one and he, has said that we're going back to the moon we're. Going back to the moon with, international. Partners and commercial. Partners, we're, going to utilize the resources, of the moon and this time when, we go to the moon it's going to be sustainable, in other, words we're, gonna stay when. We're gonna stay with robots. Landers and Rovers and, we're, gonna have humans, going back and forth to the surface of the Moon from, what we call gateway. Which, is in essence, a space, station in orbit, around the moon in deep space so. There's a lot of really exciting things happening, at NASA and the, people that are going to be on these missions the people that are going to be flying them that, next generation of of Neil, Armstrong's. And Buzz Aldrin's. They're gonna be with us here today so. Let's bring out our astronaut. Candidates, and let's get started. In, fact a lot of people around. The country that are enamored, with who you are and what you're gonna do on behalf of the United States of America, on behalf, of Canada, and in fact on behalf, of the world so thank you for being here thank you for participating this. Thank you for letting this audience love on you for a few minutes there as, you can see a lot of enthusiasm but. Go ahead please have your seats and I want. To start, we'll. Start with with Kayla and we'll just go down the row if each. Of you would take just a few moments tell. Us what your name is where you're from and. A little bit about your background where, you come from and and, what got you to the point where you're ready to be an astronaut, candidate it's okay let's starting with you thanks, so much for having us here today sir it's an honor to be here my name is Kayla Baron my, background is in the Navy I serve.
You Yes, sir, he, will cut in me class of 2010, and I served on submarines, before coming to NASA I'm from Washington State awesome. Well I can, tell you since I've been the NASA Administrator I've, had a lot of debriefs, from our our. Astronauts, who live and work on the International, Space Station. I tell. Based on those debriefs, that your experience, on submarines, living. In close quarters with other people is gonna be very valuable going. Forward so thank you for being here all. Right I'm, Zeena Cartman, I grew, up in Williamsburg Virginia went, to UNC Chapel Hill and then, Penn State for my PhD I was a microbiologist. Studying, mostly caves and the deep sea fantastic. I'm. Roger Chari I go by a grinder, I grew up in Iowa, and I went to the Air Force Academy and then MIT and then I was an Air Force test pilot before coming here to NASA so when you say you go by Grindr you're of course a military pilot that would be a callsign that would be my callsign yeah okay fantastic thank, you. Good, morning Mathew Dominic I went grew up in Wheat Ridge Colorado I went to the University of San Diego for electrical engineering and. Then went, to Naval Postgraduate School as well naval test pilot, awesome. Morning. My name is Bob Hines, I grew, up primarily in Pennsylvania, went to, Boston. University and the University of Alabama was, a Air, Force test pilot I actually worked at NASA as a research pilot for a few years before, getting selected with this class. Good. Morning woody Holbrook from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania I went to MIT and UC Berkeley and, then spent a little bit of time at Boeing Commercial Airplanes before. Teaching for several, years as an MIT engineering. Professor before getting selected, awesome. Good. Morning joining Kim I was born and raised in Los Angeles I was an enlisted Naval Special Warfare operator, then. Went to the University, in Diego and Harvard Medical School became a medical doctor before coming here so, when you say Navy Special Warfare operator. Most. Of us would know that as a Navy SEAL is. That right that's great sir okay awesome. Thanks. Johnny, thanks, everyone good morning I'm Joshua kucik, I grew up on a cattle farm in Alberta. Canada I studied. Mechanical engineering and, prior to coming here I was an Air Force test pilot thanks, for having us. Good. Morning I'm Jasmine belli callsign, jaws I grew up in Baldwin, New York on Long Island, studied, at MIT in the Naval Postgraduate School and, prior, to coming here was a Cobra pod and test pilot for the United States Marine Corps. Thank. You everybody my name is Laurel O'Hara and I grew up in Sugarland Texas and, went to the University of Kansas and Purdue University, before. This I was an engineer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Up in Massachusetts, where I worked on research. Submarines. And robots. Good. Morning Frank Rubio from Miami Florida graduated. From West Point 98, go army go army and, prior to this I was a Blackhawk, pilot and then a family. Medicine physician working. With 10th Special Forces Group before being selected awesome. Hi. I'm Jenny society I'm a Canadian astronaut, I, study. Mechanical engineering at, McGill University and. Then did my PhD at Cambridge University most. Recently I was working as an engineering professor at the University, of Cambridge and I studied fire. Hi. My. Name is Jessica Watkins I'm from Boulder Colorado I studied. At Stanford and UCLA as, a geologist.
And Did my research on Mars geology, most recently working on the Mars rover. So. Mars geology, has got to be really hard, especially. From Planet Earth, yes. That's what's enough for this job that's, right. So. We're gonna try to make that job easier for, you that sounds great awesome well we're looking forward to that so just, so everybody knows kind, of the rules of the road here, this. Is live on on, the NASA Channel it's, also on social media and there, are people out there who might want to ask a question of one, of these fabulous. Astronaut. Candidates, if, you'd like to do that you can send a send a tweet and use, hashtag. At. Hashtag. Ask, NASA so, use hashtag, ask NASA, send a tweet and we'll, get you in the queue so that you can ask a question from one of our our, astronaut, candidates, in the meantime if. You're in the audience here, and you have a question certainly. Think, about what that question may be we have folks here with some with, some microphones we'll get those microphones up to you and you can ask direct. Questions of, our astronaut. Candidates so let's. Begin I'll start with, the, first question and I'll. Just start with you Kayla since you're, a front and left here closest. To me so you're you're, in the direct line of fire, what, is something that has, surprised, you about, NASA and/or, astronaut. Candidate, training I. Think. What surprised me the most about training so far given that my background is in submarine, warfare not in aviation is how, much I've enjoyed flying, in our training jet the t-38, I wasn't, sure how that would go for me but I've really had a good time doing, it and I think I learned a lot from training, in that environment that's fantastic now in the t-38. It. Does every astronaut, become a pilot no. So the astronauts, you have a background in. Raishin before they come here and like many of our classmates do, they, get certified, to be a pilot in the front seat of a two-seat, jet and the, rest of us learn how to fly in the back seat and. We use it as an analogue for, training. In an, environment, that's actually, risky you're operating real equipment and you have to learn how to communicate and, cooperate with a teammate in order to stay safe and complete, your mission that's, fantastic, now let me ask you did you fly at all you know commercially, or civilly, when, you were a. Submarine. Warfare. Officer, no, I was, just focused on learning how to operate a nuclear reactor and drive a boat operating. Under the sea so. That wasn't really my area of expertise, but I've had a lot of fun scratching. The surface of that so far well that's fantastic, operating. A nuclear reactor there's that's that's a tough job I can imagine and, I'm. Sure, that that will serve you well living, and working in space so thank you yes, sir all right. Let's. See there, are a lot of surprising. Things, in a good way I think one of the most surprising things to me has been how, different. Everyday of our training is you might be in a class, learning Russian one hour and then the next hour you're walking. To the airport to get in one of those t-38, Jets it's incredibly diverse and it's really cool getting to do that alongside, classmates who come from such diverse backgrounds. Amazing. What. Surprised, me is the amount of people and dedication, that support all the training things we do so whether it's we. Just recently had our Kaelin, I just had our first run at the NBL and. Just the number of divers that are involved all the people that show up to support that whether it's doing Space Station simulators, and having a whole team, of people that are watching in control room for basically, a full day just to support our. Individual. Training is amazing, to me and this really speaks volumes to the fact that every one of the agency is so dedicated to us, succeeding, but really the agency's succeeding, in the missions we've got coming forward it blows my mind every, time I walk in that you know I get paid to do this and there's, usually 10 or 20 other people there to help me improve and, get the mission done so that's been really cool to see so, this, is interesting because there's so many diverse backgrounds. On this and of course when we think about the history of flying, a lot of people go back to Apollo or, Gemini, or mercury. And and in those missions there was largely military, aviators, of which Raja you were one, but. Now we're it's. A it's a very diverse kind, of cadre, of folks that we're looking for and bringing. It all together tying, it together in a way where you guys can work together and, maximize. The opportunities, that we get from spaces is, really amazing, and doing that starting. In the, training environment. Is. Is impressive, so thank. You for those amazing.
Comments, We do have our first, question from social media so, we'll. Go to the social media question it is what. Astronaut, do you look up to the most and take. Inspiration, from. And. I'm gonna open this up to the first person who's willing to, to. Raise their hand and if not I might end up diming somebody, out so, if. You had if you had to pick an astronaut, that you look up to who would that be obviously. A very, very difficult question to, paraphrase. Or a quote, that typically goes with Newton, or, not Newton somebody smart I. Think. Was Newton standing on standing, on the shoulders that. Were. Standing on the shoulders of giants and when. I was on board. On. Board the, USS. Eisenhower, Neil. Armstrong came out to visit and I was most impressed with just, how humble he was and he. Was just you could tell from interviews, you've seen with him he just was mission oriented and just did his job quietly. And respectfully and, I think that's he's, a really good, pinnacle for this job look up to that's. Amazing and there's a new movie coming out about his life which, I have seen and, it's. Extremely, moving, for. Those who, are. Interested, in space and interested, in the history this. Is a movie about a person, it's a movie about a person's life and I, got to tell you when the movie was over I couldn't. Move I just sat there just. Kind of. Thinking. About this, person's life so I think that's that's an amazing, an, amazing individual. That you've that you've just discussed, and the fact that you had the opportunity. To, meet him did, you meet him when he was on the ice did you get that chance yes sir he came out with, a couple other folks and came out to the Eisenhower while we were off the coast of. Pakistan doing operations in. Afghanistan, Wow, and that shows you his dedication, long after his military service, was over long after his NASA service, was over he was still focused. On being involved in in the, lives of the people that. Were doing what he used to do so that's uh that's man look at look at you now did you know then that this is what you wanted to do yes. Sir absolutely. But. It still inspired you yeah, huge huge inspiration, you know is always just something in the distance that you knew maybe I'd have a chance to do that but never really actually felt like I could be here on the stage right now awesome. Anybody. Else. Yeah. Echo that I had, the opportunity to meet mr., Armstrong at a society. Of experimental test pilots symposium. Several. Years ago and same, thing that his his humility and. Acknowledgement, of how many people he was just the fortunate, guy that got to you know be, the first one on the moon but his acknowledgment to, the the, giant, team that. Is NASA that got him there you know in the industry behind it. It, was, his. Humility was just phenomenal and very inspiring the, other one that I would put at a close second would be John Young who, unfortunately. Passed away not not too long ago but, he. His. Professionalism, and his experience, and his dedication to advancing. Human, spaceflight, was. Very inspirational as well you. Know it's interesting you mentioned John Young if. If, I remember right he was involved in Apollo and. He flew the space, shuttle as well yes sir a very, broad experience and. I he. You know so he got to walk on the moon and then flew the space, shuttle flight which was actually my that. Was my inspirational. Moment when I was a young, kid getting to watch, sts-1. Launch and and. Following. That mission I was really what kind of set my sights on this initially, Wow that's fantastic, well, thank you guys for that I was. Informed, that we might have a question from the audience. Do. We somebody, want to raise. Their hand we got a mic we got microphones avail. You. Have to both stand up and talk into the microphone. Who, is your hardest part of your chain. Boys. That blue is the hardest, are you training they. Probably have the hardest part coming up. But. That's a good question cuz they've been through through, pretty tough stuff already that's, a great question I think I. Would probably list, learning, the Russian language first we learn Russian because we. Will, some, of us may fly to the International Space Station where we work, closely with our, Russian partners there, and. Learning a new language as, a, 33. Year old adult, is, pretty. Difficult try it as a 43, year old at all. More.
Generally It, kind of reminds me of I have a favorite quote I don't know the quote verbatim. But I'll paraphrase I think it's a fireman quote and. He says it's not that hard but there's a lot of it and, I think that goes for our training as well we just do such a diverse range of things flying, being. In the neutral, buoyancy lab, learning. Of language learning, systems, of various. Spacecraft and, it's. It's, just the range of everything we do, awesome. Others. Most, difficult thing. Come. On somebody's got to have something difficult that they've done. I'd. Had to echo what what he said that the breath, and not. Necessarily the depth of knowledge is maybe. That deep but just the wide breadth of knowledge that we need to know everything from Russian, to, the International, Space Station to fly in the t-38. There's, there's something, new every day and. Recently. Some. Of us have gone to train, in the neutral points lab in the, spacesuit. And I. Had my first run last week and I found that to be one of the more physically. Challenging things in that, you have to the. Mechanics, emotion that we take for granted everyday as simple. As lifting your arm up above your head is. Completely different and foreign in that spacesuit, and I. Found that to be very challenging and humbling and was. A lot of fun. Even. For a Navy SEAL even. For a Navy SEAL. Well. Good I got. A question I'm gonna ask myself. If, that's all right I'm, gonna take this little point of privilege since this is my show. To. Ask a question and Bob, I'm gonna I'm gonna direct this to you because this is this is an important thing a few minutes ago we were meeting in, another room just getting to know each other a little better and and, you presented, me this. Patch, this. Is your class patch so this patch represents. All. Of you and and what you're doing and on, this patch me know my first reaction was. That's. Interesting, we're we're, talking about astronaut, candidates, we're talking about our brand, new class, of, astronauts. And you, give me a patch with. A turtle, on it. Share. With me and. The audience why this patch has a turtle on it, yes. Sir the so, during our announcement, last, summer vice. President pence came down and he, he, helped, introduce our class to the country and during.
His Speech he told the story about a turtle. On a fence post and if you walk into a field and see a turtle on a fence post you know it didn't get there by itself and that, certainly, translates, to every single one of us here there. Is a huge support, structure, behind us whether it be our spouses and our kids our. Parents our mentors, all that stuff they all played a huge role in getting us, to the point that we're at now and so much. Like we were alluding to Neil Armstrong acknowledging. The, masses. That were behind accomplishing, that giant goal we, all have the same thing we have a. Many. People behind us that helped get us here and, so that's the, the class in front of us took, that as an opportunity to name us the turtles and we've, embraced it and and. And it's a nod to those that helped get us here awesome, that's that's a wonderful story and I think it it's. Important, you know we have we. Have here today not, just the astronauts, but we have the newest class of flight. Directors, and. We're. Gonna do another show they they might not be ready for me to announce this but we're gonna do another show just like this one with, the flight, ders sitting, in your in your seats the reason being, because. They are just as critical to all of your missions as you are as far so, many others here at NASA and in, fact our contractors. And our providers, of services. And. And and yet we we want to be able to showcase the entire enterprise, and that. At the end of the day you. Are the ones that are taking, on the most risk and putting you're putting yourselves out there but. There's an entire team of people behind you doing everything, possible, to make sure that you're, safe and that you're prepared, and that we're getting the absolute best discovery. And science, and exploration from. What you're doing and. That is that is the history and tradition of NASA so I love, the story I love the patch I love that you guys are the Turtles and I, appreciate, you sharing that, okay. So yeah. So. We've got another question from social, media how. Is the current research in space helping, you to prepare humans, for, a journey to Mars and, beyond. I'll. Take this one. So. For everybody, Jessica is the, Mars geologist. From, Planet Earth yes. All. Right. Yes I think there's, a there's, actually a lot of different types of research that are going to be necessary. To help prepare us, for a journey to the moon or to Mars or, wherever that destination, might be I. Think one, big piece of that is sending. Robotics, to, these, places, so, both, to the moon and to Mars we have instruments. That are in orbit and then also the rover that I mentioned, is, is providing. Us with an understanding of, these. Bodies, first. Finding, a good place for us to go that, has resources.
That We might be able to use, and. As, also is safe for, us. Related. To that is. Studying the radiation. Involved. In the journey to, particularly. To Mars how we can mitigate, that, risk for. Us as humans there's a lot of really great work being done with done. On that at NASA, trying, to figure that out there's the engineering, aspect, as well working. On getting, Rockets. Prepared, to get us to the moon and out to Mars and back is a. Big part, of that, ideally. And. Yeah. So I think there's there's, a lot that kind of goes into this big. Picture of human, spaceflight we kind of have touched on that but we really are the, tip of the of a really large iceberg, there's. A lot of a lot of people putting a lot of time. And energy into solving. These tough problems, to, allow us to explore. Further, absolutely. That's, a wonderful, response to that important question and a. Lot of things that NASA does that a lot of people don't see you, know but behind the scenes right now we're developing technology. We've got amazing scientists. And engineers that. Are you know advancing. Solar electric. Poulsen for example, to help us get to Mars with. What's called the highest specific. Impulse possible, we, want to be able to get there with propulsion that doesn't we don't want to have to launch massive. Amounts of fuel into space to get to Mars so, solar electric, propulsion can. Really help us get there faster, it can help us get there more. Efficiently without having to launch so much mass into space we're, also trying to figure out the physiology, with the deep-space radiation. Environment, the. Microgravity, environment on the International, Space Station even right now we've got astronauts, on, the International Space, Station and. Of course we've had astronauts, there for 18 years, now which is an amazing achievement in, itself with, with an international, treaty, and. And and our astronauts, are are, demonstrating. That humans can in fact live and work, in space there. Are no doubt, challenges. To human physiology and, we're learning what those are and. We're we're, putting in place countermeasures. For that activity, so there's there's a lot happening that what I think is important, to note also is that the, moon is actually. An amazing proving. Ground. We, can go to the moon it's a three-day journey home we know in this room because we're you know we're, followers, of the history Apollo. 13, which. Some call a disaster, and others call an amazing success it. Was possible, to bring our astronauts, home because it was a three-day, journey home had. Something like that happened, on the way to Mars it. Wouldn't, have worked out but, in this particular case, the moon is an amazing, proving ground to demonstrate, the technologies, to to, reduce the risk to. Prove, all. Everything, we need to know about life, and and science, and and physiology. So that we can ultimately make that, journey to Mars by the way you mentioned robotics. And that's. Again. We have learned so much the, United States is still the only country and we've done it with international, partners but, we're still the only country, that has landed on the surface of Mars with. With, Landers, and Rovers and, now. We've done it seven times and on. November. 26, the Monday after Thanksgiving we're. Landing on Mars for an eighth time within sight which as a geologist. I know you are gonna be really. Interested, in what comes from that we're gonna we're, gonna be able to get a 3d image of what the inside, of Mars is like we're gonna study, Mars quakes, how active, is the geology, how. Often is it impacted. With with. With meteors, and and and all of these kind of things that are going to be necessary. Not, just to understand, the planet but also to. Prepare for an eventual human, landing which. A Mars geologist. Might be the, the you know the right person to send. On on a journey to Mars so, a. Lot of really exciting things happening, at NASA and of course your insight there is critically, valuable so.
I I'm going to go back to the audience, there. Has to be another person that's interested in asking it we've got a couple of young folks here which. I'm thrilled to see and. Stand up say save what your name is and then ask, the question. What's. Actually the most about go into space. What. Excites, you the. Most about. Going. To space. Laurel. I. Think. The one thing or one of the things that I'm most excited about is just getting to see the earth from the unique perspective of being in space or, you can see it just all by ourselves out, there in the vastness of space. Everybody. On the planet I think that would just be kind, of an overwhelming, feeling the first time that you see that and give you a really unique perspective on the world that's. Yeah that's, amazing. You know I am, looking. Back in history this December. 24th, on Christmas, Eve this year we're celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of, Apollo, 8, which. Of course was the first time we orbited, the moon and we. Got pictures. For, the first time in history we got pictures, of the. Earth in its, entirety. From. The vicinity of the moon and of course that picture, has now been of, course Life, magazine and and. And you, know pretty much every publication, on the planet covered that and, it. Really changed the perspective of a lot of people as to you. Know who we are as as, Earth. We're. This pale, blue dot in the middle of this ocean, of darkness, and. How important this planet is so that's a it's a wonderful response. Did. You have a follow-up question no. There was somebody else we'll. Go here first and then back and then back to you. What. What, makes you want to be a tional but drove you what still drives you to become a national, I. Samia. I'm, Josh thank, you for the question, I get. Asked this a lot and you know when I think about it I if I think back to when I was your age for, example I tell, people that the one thing that I remember more than anything is just, being, super, curious, about everything wanting, to explore and look and go farther and and if, there was something that I had never done and that, I viewed as being very difficult to do I wanted to go and try to do it to see what I would learn about myself from doing it and you, know as I grew up I developed other interests, I started to become really interested, in flying really, interested, in science and then I got into test flying and all the rest of it but really. The very first thing I think was just this overwhelming, curiosity. And. You, know on a bigger scale I think that's really important, to us it's really important, to. Us as humans in the world that we engage. In that that we are constantly, you know redefining. What. The, impossible. Is pushing. Limits and looking further and you know for me that's that's where it started, and I think that's, still a big part of why I'm here and why I'm excited to go to work every day, but. Good question I'm gonna I'm gonna dime out. Let's. See Jenni. So. I want. To echo what Joshua. Said and that curiosity, is a big component and, a big driver for what we do is certainly was very motivating, in my case as well, and. Spaceflight is really interesting, and such that we. Know we're gonna learn a lot we don't necessarily know, what we're gonna learn I mean the technologies, that come from the fundamental, knowledge we gain from exploring. Sometimes. We learn how much we don't know exactly it's. Just this incredible, really. A journey, and. It's. A next buck and they really inspire, during things. So one of the one of the things I'd be really excited about adding to what Laurel said as well seeing the Earth from that perspective it's. Also the excitement that comes with what you're gonna learn so that curiosity. And, I. Guess. Push. To learn more is incredibly. Motivating, I think for most of us you sound, like a PhD, I. Tried. To hide it. Frank. Did you do, you have something sure, thanks I, think, I mean it's funny I you know we we. Come from very different backgrounds but I think many of us have similar personalities and that when, we were young we loved to explore we. Loved to push ourselves still. And. I think that, that drive is. Just. Deep within all of us and it's neat to you, know really in our positions, what we do is we represent teams, we represent, NASA we represent, our. Militaries, or schools and, because, I think humanity, is kind of driven by curiosity and, the want to explore and, so, to be. Able to represent that is a pretty neat privilege, okay.
Awesome. We're. Gonna go to, social media here real quick and then I know we've got another, question from the audience many, of NASA. Astronaut, candidates, have military flight experience, but what other fields, of study are. Essential. For becoming, an astronaut. What, there's this a very, diverse group, of backgrounds, here so. Despite, the fact that I'm actually one, of those military, aviators, I'd like to answer this question because, this. Is such a diverse group and we. Have so many people that have done interesting things that you. Know. You. Think of the first class of NASA astronauts it was all military, aviators. And I'm really glad we've moved away from that because you, know we've already heard from Jessica. Marsh, geologist. We took. A we've, taken many courses in geology and, so. Applicable to, we're talking about exploring, other. Other. Bodies, out other other, than Earth's and, we've. We've, done a lot of analogs, back and how that you know we can look at certain things on earth and what does that tell us about what we're seeing on these other celestial. Bodies, xena, studied. Extremophiles, I would say more about it but it's way above my head but we're you know one of the most exciting things you talk about the, possibility, of finding life somewhere, outside. Of Earth and I, think those. Extremophiles. Would play into that we've got Johnny and Frank who are medical doctors. So. Much of what we're studying especially when we talk about long-duration. Missions, is the medical effects on the body and the. Radiation, the psychological. Effects all those things. You. Know woody Laurel, all our anytime. We've got a question on, orbital. Mechanics or. Anything. We go to you know our resident, expert woody, and so, soon. So many of these things in Johnny said it earlier you know we're studying such a diverse, and broad range of things and and. All. Of us have different backgrounds and different areas of expertise, that, we all need to pull together that's. A great. Answer and, I'll. Just piggyback, you, dimed, out Zena and you dimed out Jesse, and I, will, just say I've. Been the NASA Administrator for, five months now and in this time there. Have been so many discoveries, that you, alluded to about, you know is there life out there we. Now know just since I've been here we now know that there's liquid water one, and a half kilometres under the surface of Mars well. That's, a discovery, we didn't know when I took the job and it's, funny to see the chief scientist, at NASA run into my office and announce this guess what we just found and. And to, know that there are going to be people in fact maybe, the. The folks here, taking. Those missions, to learn to learn even more with with human exploration we, now know that there's. Complex. Organic, compounds, on the surface of Mars doesn't, guarantee that there's life but. It increases the probability that, there's life which is another, important, discovery again just in my short. Five months here and the idea that methane, cycles, on Mars, are. Perfectly. Correlate, with the seasons, of Mars again doesn't guarantee life, but it increases the probability so. This diverse, group of folks that, that. Is in this class. Is really gonna have an opportunity to, make amazing. Discoveries and, of, course if we're successful in. In, your time at NASA and I can't make any guarantees. Some. People are older. Than others, Bob. But. But, it would it would be it would be amazing if if, some of the people here were to make that first trip, to Mars and, I think that's in the realm of possibility. We're. Going to the moon we're gonna retire this risk and then we're gonna we're gonna. Prove. Out the technologies, and take gateway, that first gateway is about proving technology, the second gateway is a deep-space transport. And that could be our vehicle, to, get to Mars so a lot, of exciting things and the backgrounds, here are amazing we, had another question from the audience I think in the second row here. Hi. I'm Ryan I work. For NASA CFO. So. You guys are gonna actually have an, opportunity to do something, that most people only get theoretically, to do, what. Would you take with you to a desert island so, you're literally, there's no stowage place and, you really. Have to think hard about where you're gonna take have. You guys thought about that at all. It's. A good point I would, take woody Hobart I. Think. I'd take a long-range radio. We.
Look Towards the exploration, missions I mean we've talked about a lot of times but we are just the tip of an iceberg so without the ability to communicate back with the team supporting us I mean we, yes we have very diverse backgrounds, but any one of us on a spacecraft by ourselves would not last very long so, I think communication, would be to, me the most, important thing too, you know to help, with the the journey and also to share that journey but more, importantly just to stay alive on the journey because there's no probably a whole bunch of things on that spacecraft I'm gonna need help with or, desert island. All. Right a great. Ant did you have more. You, can. There's. A there. I've. Had this question a lot and and the question, is how many applicants. Were. There to be in your class does. Anybody here know that answer off offhand. There. Was somewhere, around eighteen thousand eighteen thousand people applied, for, your. Job and yet. And yet this this group here was. Was selected. And. Of, course this was kind of a new thing where was there anybody on this stage that had applied for the astronaut, corps previously. We've. Got a number. Of folks how. Many, times if you don't mind me asking how many times have how, many times does it take and just so you know I have talked to astronauts, that. Work here at the headquarters building that have that, have said that you know they got accepted on their eighth, application. To be in the astronaut, corps that's, how competitive it is and it, shows that this, person was qualified. And. Still. As qualified, as you are it's still extremely difficult to get into the Corps and yet, here you are so. If you don't mind share. The experience, of the. First application. Second third or whatever and then ultimately, what. It was like to finally get the yes. Anyone. Three. Times the. First I started applying basically, as soon as I was old enough and, the first time I applied I was still in grad school and I don't think I met the basic qualifications. But then so, this is my third time applying. And. Yes. Sir I think one, of the unique things about the application, process that, we, go through is, we get to spend twice, a. Full, week with, the, other people that are also competing, for the same job and that's pretty unique, I think to most any other, job that's out there and. One of the things that our eyes are open to is, the, quality, of the applicants, that are coming in I think most, of us would agree that there. Are. Multitudes. Of other, people that are just as or more qualified, potentially, than than, we are so we're incredibly, blessed and fortunate to, have been selected by NASA on, this and.
And. We've really in we. Obviously enjoy, it we've got a great group dynamic, I think with our with our group, and that's that's, part of what goes into I think making a good cohesive, class for. Us I've to, answer your your question in the short, version I applied this is my third application and, I did not interview at all on either of the first two so. It's. A it's. An incredible experience to obviously go through that that process, but it is very eye-opening as. Many. May or may not know as fighter pilots, there tends to be a little bit of an ego that goes along with being a fighter pilot but you roll into a group, like this and you start realizing I, just, fly airplanes. Kayla, I want to bring you into the mix you're you're a, submariner. United, States Navy and we got a question from social media which I think is interesting about, a, lunar base. It. Asks you know how would a lunar base or a colony, affect, the future of space travel if you had any thoughts about this I know a submarine. Is different than a lunar base but, in some ways they. Would be very similar, I. Think, as you, already pointed out sir the. Opportunity. To work on the moon is a great, proving, ground for future, exploration, deeper, in space and I think there's a lot we can learn from operating, in extreme, environments we're already doing that here on the surface of the earth. Submarines, are a reasonable. Analog I think for the types of stuff we do in space but NASA also has a lot, of really cool analog projects. Including, Nemo. Which is an opportunity, to, live underwater, and basically, a submerged, habitat, and do scuba diving that kind of simulates, doing a spacewalk to learn new things and. The, lunar base kind of just takes that to the next level it really would teach. Us a lot about how, we need to operate when, we're further from Earth when we're further from our support team and when, we have fewer, resources awesome. You, know I, get. This question a lot because people. Want to know you, know why are we going back to the moon and of course we've got geologists. Here as well you know we think back to the Apollo program we, landed, six times, on the surface of the Moon with. 12 people and each time it was in that equatorial. Region, of the moon and. When. We think about Gateway and what it is we're, talking about a habitat, in orbit around the moon not, on the surface of the Moon but in orbit what the Gateway will allow us to do is have, more access, to more parts, of the Moon than ever before so when we think back in, history, we we have not known people, have maybe thought about speculated. There might be water ice on the surface of the Moon, well. We've discovered in 2008, and in 2009. That. There is water ice and we discovered, that there's hundreds, of billions of tons of water ice on the surface of the Moon so. That's one of the reasons how would it affect the, future of space travel water ice is life support, in situ, resource utilization, utilizing. The resources of the Moon for life support water is of. Course there to drink ice melt, it you got water crack, it into hydrogen and oxygen, oxygen is necessary to, breathe and. Then of course hydrogen, and oxygen when put into cryogenic form, that's. Rocket, propulsion and some. Of you will be launching on the SLS rocket which is a liquid, oxygen liquid hydrogen or. Rocket, so this is uh this. Is this is an important question something, we need to think about we. Put a habitation, on the surface of the Moon. We're gonna be able to get a lot more knowledge about the surface we, 1969. We landed on the moon and it took until 2009. Before we knew that. There were hundreds of billions of tons of water ice on the moon how much how, much do we still not know about the moon could. There be and, I don't have an answer nobody else does but we know that there are rare earth metals, that are extremely, valuable, well.
Those Rare earth metals or asteroid impacts, they're not earth metals at all could. There be those. Metals, on the surface of the Moon where there's not an active geology where, there's not an active. Hydrosphere, and would they be right were they impacted, you, know a billion years ago or however long ago it might have been so these. Are I think important questions about the surface of the Moon and and what comes next for the future of space, exploration. I'm, gonna go to a question that I have here on a card. I mentioned. SLS we mentioned Commercial, Crew going, back and forth the International, Space Station on commercial, Rockets. Xena. I'm going to ask this question for you when, you think about what mission you'd like to be involved in. What. What do you think about what would be your what would be your dream choice and why gosh. That's a great question, and I think we all have the very corny. Boring answer of seriously. We would take anything laughter I. Think it's actually most, exciting, to me that you can even ask that question and, that there are multiple options for us to choose from that's a really, amazing. And exciting time to be a part of the space program but. To add on to that I would go on any mission with any one of these Turtles. That's. Awesome but you're right the idea that we've got two different, very. Dissimilar, designs, with. United, Launch Alliance and, Boeing and SpaceX. Launching. To the International Space, Station next year with. With humans and at, the same time we're, building the, largest rocket, we're talking to rocket bigger than the Statue of Liberty that's got to be intimidating. Not. That the others aren't, but. But, what. An amazing opportunity in, this country to have all of this under development, and now we're on the precipice of seeing it realized. And that some. Here might have the opportunity to do it anybody else want to weigh in on on what. You want to do I know Jesse you want to go to Mars so you're all about the SLS, I would imagine. Yes. Yes. I just would piggyback, on what Xena said it's super exciting, to have those.
Opportunities Actually. In. The on the horizon and. Just, it's just because of all of the great work of, the talented people at NASA that we're even, able to ask that question awesome. Anyone, else yes. Sir I think I completely, echoed Xena said we would all take any mission and be really excited I think as an engineer, the fact that we're building. A new gateway. Out near the moon I think. The opportunity, to be involved, in constructing, that is just incredibly, exciting so while I would take anything I that's, the kind, of thing, out there that makes me say wow this is an amazing time to be so you were the one they were teasing about you know if we need information about orbital, physics they go to you. So. Maybe you can share for the audience what an ear rectilinear, halo, orbital. No. Don't do that unless you want to. I. Can. Try we actually, had a good discussion about this at dinner last night. Sounds. Riveting, we. Are, talking about putting. This orbital. Gateway in a pretty interesting orbit, out, around, it's a orbit, around the moon that, has a lot of. Convenient. Properties, for example it is easy. To change the plane of that orbit if, you compare it to say a circular, orbit like low-earth orbit and so that gives us a lot of interesting. Possibilities like, like. You were saying sir with going to different places if. We do want to go down to the surface yeah, no that's right so the idea behind the Gateway you, know we think back to the Apollo era we think about a command. Module you, think back to Saturn, rocket that massive, stack on the launch pad what. Actually came back was just that little thing at the very top that had people on board that was all that came back at the end of the day imagine. An architecture. Which we want to build that is, sustainable, where all the pieces of the architecture, are reusable, so what the Gateway represents, is in essence a reusable. Command. Module, that. Can go to different orbits around the moon it can go to the l1 point it can go to the l2 point as you mentioned you can change you, know what that orbit is which, gives you more access to more parts of the moon than ever before to, make those amazing. Discoveries, and so thrilled. To have you involved, in in that activity, get, through candidate. Training and I'm. Sure you'll be involved, in all those kind of activities. Did. You have something else okay I know we had another question from the audience over, here a couple I've got a lot of questions from the audience.
Good. Morning if you, were allowed one, personal, item to, take into space to remind you of home what would that be. I thanks. Of a question I have a of. The same answer to this and I really, like it at home I have a all-time piece it's mechanically, wound and it was built and say, that late 1800s. Probably, and it, came from my great, grandfather grandfather through father and, I still have that at home in my desk and to, be, frank, with you it's amazing. To me to sit and look at this and think of that in really, the short time span of just those few generations. We're, sitting here with these people today at NASA talking. About actually, going to, the moon and beyond just. Something, fundamentally. Amazing. To think about you. Know in terms of the pace of human, innovation in, terms, of what we can do and we come together and try to do it and just. In terms of how exciting. The future is so I you, know there's probably not wait for that but if there was a that's, that would be what I would take I. Think. For me if you um ask, any of my classmates I really love pictures which, is, I'm. Always the one snapping pictures on all our trips so you know when I did my three deployments I always carried, in, my flight suit a little, book of pictures of my friends and family and so I think I'd bring, that, no. Goldfish crackers maybe, some goldfish pretzels oh yeah. So. Jasmine remind me what you flew, I flew. Cobras helicopters. In the Marine Corps okay, so you would take those pictures on deployments, in. The Cobra I would, I'd carry them in my eye flight to Puckett fantastic. We. Had some more questions here from the audience up. No. Offense but we'll start with the young folks if that's all right, my, name is Jordan and what, was your first reaction were you guys in NASA. Hey. Jordan thanks for that a question it's a great question, honestly. So I had, this whole speech prepared. For. Saying well thank you for the opportunity, you know it was it's great that uh I made, it that far because I was convinced I wasn't gonna get it and. So when I picked up the phone and. I actually happened to be at home over. Lunch and. My wife was there and so it. Was a complete shock and I know that sounds trite. But it really just you just never expect to get it and, again, I'm not that emotional, of a person but. I started crying and. But. Yeah it was just an overwhelming. Excitement. I was just kind of shocked by I. Would. Add to that I think the classes covered really. Thoroughly how we all feel about how competitive the process is how amazing, all of the other, candidates, for this job were and how lucky we are to be here but, one note I want to add especially, for you guys visiting. Thinking. About what you might want to do going forward as middle, schoolers I think that's when a lot of us started to think about what we wanted to be when we grew up in a serious way and. For. Me I wanted, to go the Naval Academy I wanted to be a naval officer it, wasn't super specific, I didn't realize I wanted to be an astronaut until a few years ago and. I've. Had some amazing mentors, in my life along, the way see something in me before I even saw it in myself and, that's, what caused, me to want to go to the Naval Academy to go to grad school to be a submariner and to. Apply to be an astronaut and so these big things that seem really intimidating.
Like Whoever, gets to do that that could never be me I think. We all sometimes, have those doubts but. The important thing is the advice I got for, my last, boss Admiral. Carter who works at the Naval Academy was. If. You, want to be an astronaut you apply and, if you don't apply you, can't be one so. For, a lot of us you know talking about the number of times we applied to be here or whether, it was our first time or not, if you don't go, for it you'll. Never get the call and I think the flight directors probably feel the same way I don't. Know the exact numbers so they'll I'm sure upgrade me later but there's actually been far fewer flight directors than there are astronauts, and it's. A big thing to put yourself out there and ask, to do something big but if you don't do it you'll never get the chance that's, amazing, awesome. Anybody, else. Good. So. I'd say as. Frank. And Kayla said a wide. Range of emotions when. I found out certainly. An overwhelming, feeling of its of, excitement, and this. Amazing opportunity to have, a platform as big, as NASA to contribute to. The advancement of, of, our, of, our species but. I would say there's one emotion that I wasn't expecting and, it. Was. I don't. Know if guilt is the right word but. Maybe, a little bit of guilt because. As Bob had said, during. The selection process you're, embedded. With amazing, people who, can do just as good if, not better of a job in you and knowing. That this, is a dream that's shared by thousands of people and we're, just the lucky ambassadors, that. Had the opportunity, to to. Fulfill this mission. So. I think that. Was initial, that was an emotion I wasn't expecting, that that's an amazing, perspective the idea is you go through this process you get to know people and, not, everybody's, gonna make it and you know that going in and then when that day comes when you get selected and your buddies don't, that's. That's that, that's a perspective that I have not heard and is important. I think, the best way we can pay that back is just to, just. To remember that and do, the best that we can awesome, Thank You Johnny for that important. Answer all, right we're gonna go to a final, question here on social media we have we have time for maybe one answer. On this so, if. You really have a good answer or you want to be the person go ahead and make, it known if, not I'm gonna dime somebody out so here. We go what research do you hope to be involved with in microgravity. That. Will help us get to will. Help us on earth. I'll. Take that yeah. I think, one of the most exciting parts, of being involved in the space program is getting to do research, that helps earth as a whole, everything, from, how, do we combat bone density, loss to how. Do we prevent. You. Know the effects of radiation. -, how do we do really efficient, wastewater, recycling and. Every. Technology that we developed, for space exploration has some. Application, back here on earth and, to be a part of a research project that's so much bigger than any of the research I did as an individual, before that that's, a treat it's amazing, that's. Awesome there's a lot of things that really have very little. To do with space exploration at, all that. Would have benefits, on earth and, I was, talking to a gentleman just a few months ago who. Owns and operates a company that is doing research on the International, Space Station they're, using adult stem cells to. Print in, 3d. Human. Organs, that will be used on earth, now, all of this is very experimental, but. They're highly confident, that this is going to be a game-changer you can do things in a microgravity environment in, a in, a zero-gravity environment, that. You can't do on earth and for some of the scientists, that are here to be able to participate in, those, kind of activities that will transform. The human condition on earth and of course that's what NASA has been doing from. The beginning with, with, all of our activities from Earth, Science to planetary, science, and heliophysics. Astrophysics. It really has been amazing. So, we're, in a close here Xena thank you for that wonderful answer, I. Just want to get a show of hands if you're willing raise your hand if you're interested, in going to the Moon or Mars. Look. At these young folks what are you guys worried about. Some. Of you're like no I don't want to touch that I think it's cool they're going but I don't want to and that's, perfectly okay because guess what they need people to help them on the ground as well so.
Yeah. I see you raise your hand enthusiastically. You're ready to go huh. Yeah. Oh yeah but, that's okay here's what here's what we're gonna do we got we got to close out this show and I just want to say thank you to the audience both, online and, on NASA, TV and the audience that showed up here today thank. You all for participating I. Think this has been a great opportunity to, get to know some of America's, proudest, some, of Canada's proudest, so. We can prepare for, the next step the next generation, of of what, the United States and Canada and in fact all of our international partners are, about to do in space so thank you for participating thank. You to the astronaut, candidates, we, are gonna anxiously. Anticipate. Looking forward, to, you not just being astronaut, candidates, but no kidding doing. Your missions and we're gonna be following you all along the way so thank, you so much for, participating, thank, you for watching watch, this space, I'm the NASA Administrator Jim, bridenstine and we will see you next time thank you so much.