In another proud moment for Indians, an Indian will finally walk on the moon. Raja Chari, a graduate from the US Air Force Academy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is the only Indian-American selected by NASA for its prestigious manned mission to the moon. A team of nine men and nine women astronauts have been selected for the ambitious mission under NASA’s Artemis programme.
As per reports, the American space agency said that the modern lunar exploration programme would land its first woman and next man on the moon in 2024. This mission will hopefully help to create a sustainable human lunar presence by the end of the decade.
Chari’s father, Sreenivas V Chari, who hails from Hyderabad, had immigrated to the U.S. Raja Chari has a Bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and a Master’s degree in Aeronautics. In 2017, he was selected by NASA to be a part of 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class. He started reporting for duty in August the same year after having completed the initial astronaut candidate training. He is now eligible for a mission assignment.
The Artemis team of which Raja Chari is a part of includes astronauts from diverse backgrounds. Most of the astronauts are between the age group of 30 and 40. The 18-member team comprises Joseph Acaba, Kayla Barron, Matthew Dominick, Victor Glover, Warren Hoburg, Jonny Kim, Christina Hammock Koch, Kjell Lindgren, Nicole A Mann, Anne McClain, Jessica Meir, Jasmin Moghbeli, Kate Rubins, Frank Rubio, Scott Tingle, Jessica Watkins and Stephanie Wilson.
The Artemis is considered a stepping stone to the much more ambitious goal of placing astronauts on Mars.