Published: Ср, Марта 27, 2019
Sci-tech | By April Francis

United States pledges to send astronauts back to the Moon by 2024

United States pledges to send astronauts back to the Moon by 2024

The head of NASA says "challenge accepted" after the Trump administration asked the organisation to bring forward its next crewed moon landing by four years.

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"I will be astonished if this happens", said Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard- Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, noting that a lunar lander still needs to be designed, built and tested. "That next giant leap is to return American astronauts to the moon [by 2024]. and to establish a permanent presence on the moon and prepare to put American astronauts on Mars".

"It's time for the next giant leap", he said, echoing the famous words of astronaut Neil Armstrong who became the first man to step foot on the moon nearly 50 years ago.

"The meeting also will include reports from various other council members, two expert panels on human space exploration, and council discussion, from which Vice President Pence will provide policy recommendations for the president", they added.

The Trump administration has also proposed slashing the funding to NASA's Space Launch System, an indispensable part of the agency's moon landing plans.

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Pence's announcement comes after the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced it had to scrap its first all-female spacewalk because it didn't have well-fitting space suits for its female astronauts.

No astronauts have stepped foot on the moon since December 1972. This longtime rocket know-how is why Huntsville is nicknamed Rocket City.

NASA has already set its sights on the moon's south pole, a region believed to hold enough recoverable ice water for use in synthesizing additional rocket fuel. But Americans don't do second place. "Americans lead, and so we will".

"The moon is a truly outstanding target, both for science and for getting our exploration legs back before we set out to further destinations like Mars", Stern wrote in an email. "Failure to achieve our goal to return an American astronaut to the Moon in the next five years is not an option". He previously served as Nasa's chief technologist.

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