NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has just made the surprise announcement today that astronauts will be heading to the moon once again by the year 2028. And according to Bridenstine, this time “we will stay.”
As The Daily Mail reports, Bridenstine spoke about NASA’s 2020 budget, which has been set at $21 billion and was adamant that humans would be setting foot on the moon once again within the next 10 years, and after this would be heading to Mars.
Happily for NASA and space enthusiasts everywhere, the 2020 government budget has given the agency very close to a six percent increase from its budget last year, which will be a huge help in achieving the goal of sending humans back to the moon. Jim Bridenstine has also stated that over the next decade, new technology currently being developed will allow astronauts to explore more lunar regions of the moon than ever previously imagined.
“We will go to the Moon in the next decade with innovative, new technologies and systems to explore more locations across the lunar surface than ever before. We will use what we learn as we move forward to the Moon to take the next giant leap – sending astronauts to Mars.”
Over the past few years, NASA has been working hard on their campaign to get astronauts back on the moon, and to date have been focusing on the Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft, which will be performing its maiden flight in 2020.
Work on NASA’s lunar orbiting outpost known as Gateway is also expected to be taking place soon, and it is thought that construction will commence by 2022. Not only will this lunar outpost help astronauts to stay on the moon for extended periods of time, but it will also help to greatly improve the odds of success with much longer space missions, such as journeys to Mars. While the first Gateway will be dedicated to the moon, a second one is also being planned, which will focus on deep-space transport.
NASA’s new budget will also be a huge help to the agency’s other projects, including the Europa Clipper and the James Webb Space Telescope, and will help to produce robots and landers for future moon missions.
As Bridenstine elaborated, “Beginning with a series of small commercial delivery missions to the Moon as early as this year, we will use new landers, robots and eventually humans by 2028 to conduct science across the entire lunar surface.”