NASA’s renewed effort to return humans to the moon draws inescapable parallels to Apollo a half-century ago.
The chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA said July 24 he’s not yet convinced of the need to accelerate a human return to the moon, citing the cost of doing so.
As NASA celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first crewed landing on the moon, the agency released new details about how it will procure landers to enable humans to return to the moon in the 2020s.
Half a century after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took their first “small steps,” we’re going back with all the wonders of 21st century technology, but this time, things will be different.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said he reassigned the agency’s human spaceflight head, Bill Gerstenmaier, because time was limited to address cost and schedule issues with the agency’s key exploration programs and still meet a 2024 deadline for returning humans to the moon.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine plans to meet with international counterparts in Paris this week to discuss cooperation on the agency’s Artemis lunar program, but says those discussions are still in their early stages.
NASA has laid out a rough plan for what it now calls the Artemis program, including what needs to be built — SLS and Orion, a “minimal” Gateway and lunar landers — and how it can come together in time for a 2024 landing. What the agency has been less forthcoming about, though, is how much it will cost.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a television interview June 13 that it will cost the agency an additional $20 billion to $30 billion to return humans to the moon, the first range of costs given by the agency for the program.
Scientists and the chair of a key House committee expressed concern at a June 11 hearing that NASA could raid science programs to pay for its accelerated return to the moon.
As NASA starts development of lunar landers for Artemis, it should carefully incorporate the lessons learned from the commercial crew program, a safety panel advised.
A day after President Trump appeared to cast doubt on NASA’s plans to send humans to the moon, a White House official said the moon remained a goal of the agency’s programs as a step towards Mars.