NASA Says We’re Going to the Moon. Again. But, for Real This Time
Hold on to your re-usable rocket boosters, NASA says we're going back to the moon. But, for real this time. Earlier this week, the space agency held it's "Preproposal Conference for the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) Acquisition." It was new NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine's chance to lay out the plan to go back to the Moon with
On July 20th, 1969 - A spacecraft from the United States made quite the impression on the moon. Shortly after landing on surface, Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on a heavenly body. After that, we seemed to begin a long journey to mediocrity in our space endeavors. Don't get me wrong - the International Space Station (ISS) is pretty cool, and the Space Shuttle program was awesome, but I thought by this time we would have hotels on Mars and time shares on Uranus.
Obviously this isn't the case, because I am writing this on the boring old Earth and not from some exotic cosmic locale. My hopes were raised 1998 and again in 2004 when the Bush's (HW and W respectively) announced that the United States would be returning to the moon with much more ambitious, long term plans. This plan would ultimately be abandoned both times due to cost.
Fast forward to 2018, where folks like Elon Musk shoot rockets in to space for fun and computers have simultaneously gotten smaller and more powerful. According to ARS Technica, Bridenstine's plan depends upon space mavericks like Musk to help with real-world expertise and innovation - like SpaceX's reusable booster rockets that pilot and land themselves.
NASA says they plan to land people on the Moon (again) in the mid-2020's.