Maine astronaut Jessica Meir could be headed to the moon. The Caribou native was among the 18 candidates that NASA announced on Wednesday for the first human missions to orbit and land on the moon in nearly 50 years, although flight assignments will be made later. Half of the elite group that will begin the training are women, and the eventual crew will include the first woman to step on the moon. The White House directed the space program to return astronauts there by 2024 and establish a sustainable human lunar presence by the end of the decade.

Meir has already participated in a nearly seven-month mission at the International Space Station, where she was part of the first all-female spacewalk. She joined four other astronauts from the team for a news conference Wednesday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where she addressed the historic nature of the upcoming mission. Read more