In March, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said during a talk show appearance that the next person on the Moon is “likely to be a women.”
Now, retired NASA astronaut and former International Space Station commander Peggy Whitson is rebuking NASA’s plan, saying she doesn’t think gender should have anything to do with the Moonwalker decision.
In a recent interview with The Washington Times, Whitson noted her displeasure with NASA’s emphasis on putting a woman on the Moon.
She worries that the public could misunderstand the situation as the agency choosing a female astronaut for the mission because she’s a woman, she said — not because she’s the best astronaut for the job.
That’s not to say Whitson isn’t excited for the day when the first woman walks on the Moon.
“I do think it’s important, just like me becoming the first female commander when I was qualified,” she told The Washington Times. “I’m sure there will be a qualified woman who will do a phenomenal job, but I don’t like how it’s presented in the sense that it sounds like a stunt.”
READ MORE: NASA astronaut Jessica Meir making first voyage to space in September [The Washington Times]
More on NASA’s Moon plans: NASA Leader: First Human on Mars “Likely to Be” a Woman