In celebration of International Women’s Day, the only woman in space right now made a special presentation, Monday (March 9). While floating in the Kibo module of the International Space Station in a dress and stockings that she wore in 2019 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 12 (alongside her colleagues, who wore an assortment of throwback looks for the anniversary), NASA astronaut Jessica Meir spoke in a video posted to Twitter Monday about why we need diverse perspectives to accomplish big goals in space exploration.
“It takes all sorts of people from diverse backgrounds to explore the unknown and to make things that are seemingly impossible, possible,” said Meir, an astronaut on the three-person Expedition 62. “When we all work together, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.”
Meir recently pushed spaceflight boundaries, though she didn’t speak about this specific accomplishment in the video. She and a former crewmate, astronaut Christina Koch (who recently returned to Earth after a record-setting 328 days in space, the longest spaceflight ever made by a woman), performed the first three all-woman spacewalks in history, in 2019 and 2020.
While in space, Meir has also celebrated her identity and heritage as a Jewish woman, including wearing festive socks to celebrate Hanukkah and bringing an Israeli flag with her to space, according to The Times of Israel.
The video she posted Monday paid tribute to the women who came before her, while looking to the future, when the first woman walks on the moon, a milestone that NASA aims to accomplish by 2024.
“I am thankful for the amazing women who paved the way for me to do research in space,” Meir said. “NASA is pushing the boundaries of exploration and working hard to send the first woman and next man to the moon as part of the Artemis program.”
As of 2019, only 64 of the 566 people to fly to space have been women. The first woman to fly to space was Valentina Tereshkova, in 1963, and the first U.S. woman in space was Sally Ride, in 1984. Women have achieved a number of other incredible orbital milestones, including commanding the space shuttle, performing spacewalks and commanding the International Space Station.