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By Brittany Wilson, Staff Writer

It was only 30 years ago that NASA astronaut Mae Jemison became the first Black woman to travel to space.  All eyes were on Jemison as she defied gravity and history being an engineer and physician on a space mission.  To date, only four Black women have been to space, and 33-year-old Jessica Watkins is changing that.

In April, NASA astronaut Watkins will become the first Black woman to live and work on the International Space Station for an extended six-month mission. 

Where it all started

Born and raised in Maryland, Watkins had a fascination with outer space. She knew from a young age that she wanted to study the geology of other planets. 

In just a few months, she will take off to fulfill that dream. In an interview with NPR, she shared that “we are building on the foundation that was laid by the Black women astronauts who have come before me, I’m honored to be a small part of that legacy but ultimately be an equal member of the crew.” 

Ready for take-off

Watkins holds a doctorate degree in geology from the University of California, Los Angeles and was selected to be a part of NASA’s astronaut program in 2017. 

During this mission, Jessica Watkins will observe and photograph changes of Earth. She’ll also conduct science experiments relating to human physiology and space science.

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