Americans are returning to the moon to stay within 5 years, NASA president says. Will we be ready?
Mar 28, 2019
America will not only be returning to the moon by 2024, NASA says, they’ll be going there to stay.
At the fifth meeting of the National Space Council in Huntsville, Alabama, on Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence called for NASA to land an astronaut on the moon by the year 2024.
“It’s time to redouble our effort,” Pence said. “It can happen, but it will not happen unless we increase the pace.”
The initial plan was to land astronauts near the moon’s south pole in 2028, 56 years after the last Apollo moon walk, according to Forbes, but Pence has challenged NASA to accelerate that landing.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine released a statement on Tuesday following Pence’s remarks, saying, “It is the right time for this challenge, and I assured the Vice President that we, the people of NASA, are up to the challenge.”
Bridenstine said that within the next few weeks, NASA will take action to accomplish the five-year goal, including establishing a Moon to Mars Mission Directorate and focusing increased efforts on four areas of NASA’s exploration campaign: low-Earth orbit, the moon, Mars and deep space.
“We will go with innovative new technologies and systems to explore more locations across the surface than was ever thought possible,” Bridenstine writes. “This time, when we go to the moon, we will stay. And then we will use what we learn on the moon to take the next giant leap — sending astronauts to Mars.”
A new website NASA created called Moon 2 Mars states that NASA will be partnering with commercial and international partners to more rapidly expand space exploration and that they will be “going (to the moon) quickly and sustainably with a reusable architecture,” using resources of the moon for future exploration.
While NASA is advancing plans for further space exploration and a future moon landing, there are challenging obstacles and limitations the agency will need to address to get there.