After two years of intense training, Marine Maj. Jasmin Moghbeli became one of NASA’s newest astronauts Friday.
The Marine joins the force as it eyes putting the first woman on the moon and the first people on Mars.
She was born in Germany to Iranian parents, but moved to Baldwin, New York, when she was only 8 months old.
Moghbeli joined the Marine Corps in 2004 after graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with an aerospace engineering degree.
She started her career as an H-1 Cobra pilot, a job she had during a 2009 deployment to Afghanistan and later on a deployment with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, before later becoming one of the Marine Corps’ test pilots.
In 2017 Moghbeli took another step toward achieving her lifelong dream when she was one of only 12 people selected out of more than 18,000 applicants to start astronaut training, Brandi Dean, a spokeswoman with the space agency, told Marine Corps Times in an email.
“Jasmin and all her classmates are fantastic,” Dean said.
Neither Moghbeli nor any of her classmates have been assigned to any missions yet, Dean said, and some may be sent to the International Space Station ― a relatively routine a mission for astronauts.
But others may be selected for the historic Artemis mission, with the goal of returning to the moon by 2024, establishing sustainable exploration by 2028.
As part of the return to the moon, NASA plans on sending the first woman to earth’s most famous satellite. Meaning, it is possible the first woman to set foot on the Moon will be a Marine.
Dean said that even bolder exploration may be in Moghbeli’s future.
NASA plans on using the lessons learned exploring the moon to launch a mission to one of Earth’s celestial neighbors.
“Ultimately NASA has its sights set on Mars, so that could be a possibility for Jasmin in the future, as well,” Dean said.