UNC alumna graduates from NASA astronaut program, may be first woman to walk on moon

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Sunday, January 12, 2020
NASA welcomes 11 new astronauts into its ranks
NASA's astronaut class of 2017 graduated and is ready for space missions to the International Space Station, the Moon and someday Mars

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Among the 11 newly inducted NASA astronaut candidates is one of the University of North Carolina's very own alumna Zena Cardman.

The new 2017 class of astronauts under the Artemis program could be assigned to missions headed to the International Space Station, the Moon, and ultimately Mars. The program aims to land the first woman and next man on the moon by 2024.

RELATED: NASA welcomes 11 new astronauts ready for spaceflight assignments

Cardman, originally from Williamsburg, Virginia, went to UNC for both her undergrad in 2010 and earned her master's degree in marine science in 2014 before enrolling in a doctoral program at Pennsylvania State University.

"I went everywhere from the Arctic to the Antarctic and a few places in between," Cardman said in an interview with UNC. "To me, space seemed like the ultimate field research. So I threw my hat in the ring when the applications opened."

Watch Zena Cardman's full interview with UNC-Chapel Hill here:

NASA's newest astronauts also include Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, Matthew Dominick, Bob Hines, Warren Hoburg, Dr. Jonny Kim, Jasmin Moghbeli, Loral O'Hara, Dr. Francisco "Frank" Rubio and Jessica Watkins. You can learn more about them on NASA's website here.