NASA Is ‘Unlikely To Return To The Moon By 2024, According To New Report
It’s been a long time since humans stepped on the Moon, and NASA has had plans to send a man and a woman in 2024. Unfortunately, it seems the space agency will struggle to meet its planned launch date.
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted life on Earth considerably, and it seems to have had an equally large effect on plans for a lunar mission.
The Artemis program was expected to put the first humans on the natural satellite in 50 years, and it would also mark the first woman to step foot on the planet. However, the COVID-19 pandemic impact has severely impacted the progress of NASA and on top of that, there have been some funding issues.
NASA has had to shut down 18 major facilities because of the coronavirus, and this means that physical work on crafts and rockets has been delayed. There are also still vital decisions that have not been confirmed within the agency.
In a report, the agency explained the obstacles it is facing:
While Nasa is fast-tracking the development or purchase of additional capabilities needed to meet its lunar goals, the Agency has yet to make final decisions on key aspects, including the Gateway – the initial elements of which are currently set to launch in January 2024, several months later than originally planned – and the Human Landing System.
On top of these unforeseeable delays, the agency also failed to receive the funding it asked for from the US government. The agency asked for $3 billion to support its endeavours, but received less than half of this amount. At the moment, it is unclear whether additional funding will arrive and help its lunar efforts.
On the back of these challenges, NASA concluded lunar plans would likely be pushed back:
Due to these challenges, we anticipate further schedule delays and cost increases, making the Gateway unlikely to be available for the planned 2024 lunar landing.
Many will be disappointed by this outlook following recent reports of water on the Moon. Nonetheless, after 50 years of waiting, a little delay won’t hurt.
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