Man’s return to the moon will be delayed by a year, announces NASA


The first NASA (US space agency) mission since 1972 to take humans to the surface of the Moon was postponed to 2025, one year after the previous forecast.

Few analysts believed that NASA could meet the 2024 deadline, given the reduction in funding and legal disputes surrounding the landing vehicle.

The postponement was confirmed to journalists by the head of the space agency, Bill Nelson, this Wednesday morning (10).

In the Artemis program, NASA will send the first woman and 13th man to the lunar surface.

Bezos x Musk

The mission also involves a legal dispute between the two richest men in the world.

A US federal judge recently upheld a NASA decision to award the contract to Elon Musk’s SpaceX company to build a lunar landing vehicle for the moon mission.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos challenged the decision, in part because he argues that the contract should have been awarded to more than one company involved in the bidding process. Bezos’ company, Blue Origin, has partnered with three other aerospace companies to compete for the prestigious landing contract.

However, a reduction in NASA funding by the US Congress made this sharing impossible, according to a justification published by the space agency at the time the contract was announced. NASA received just $850 million (BRL 4.6 billion) of the $3.3 billion (BRL 18.1 billion) it asked the US Congress to build the moon landing platform.

Bezos even offered to fund US$ 2 billion (more than R$ 10.3 billion) of NASA costs in exchange for participating in the contract to build a landing vehicle on the Moon.

The NASA chief partially attributed the delay in the landing mission to the judicial imbroglio.

“Returning to the Moon as quickly and safely as possible is an agency priority. However, with the recent court process and other factors, the first human landing in the Artemis program will likely not take place until 2025,” he said.

But analysts have pointed out for the past year that the landing module’s funding problem is what made the mission’s previous forecast for 2024 unsustainable.

If last week’s ruling is upheld by other courts, a version of the SpaceX spacecraft, currently being tested in Texas, will be the vehicle used to transport the crew to the lunar surface in 2025.

The first mission of the Artemis program is scheduled to take off in February 2022. NASA will launch the Orion spacecraft on the powerful Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with no people aboard.

During this mission, Orion will fly around the Moon on a three-week trip to test its systems.

The first flight with astronauts, dubbed Artemis-2, will take place in 2024, said the head of NASA.

The next step, Artemis-3, will be the first mission to return to the Moon’s surface since Apollo 17 in 1972. It is expected to land at the lunar south pole, which supposedly contains large reserves of icy water in craters that never receive the light. of the sun.

In theory, the ice in these craters could be used to make rocket fuel, reducing the cost of lunar exploration.

The program will also see the first non-white person land on the Moon, though it’s unclear whether this will happen during Artemis-3 or on a later lunar mission.


You May Also Like

Recommended for you

Immediate Peak