Returning Astronauts to the Moon in 2024 Could Cost $30 Billion

18 Juin, 2019, 16:26 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • NASA astronaut Anne Mc Clain attends her final exam at the Gagarin Cosmonauts' Training Centre

The United States wants its astronauts walking on the surface of the moon in 2024, but the mission is going to be expensive. That plan includes recruiting commercial companies and worldwide partners, building a lunar space station, landing humans at the moon's south pole by 2024 and framing the whole project as practicing for Mars.

NASA, which has named named its lunar program Artemis, in memory of the goddess of hunting, forests and sister of Apollo, plans to send a man and a woman to the Moon in 2024. That might imply including one other $4 billion to $6 billion per 12 months, on common, to the company's finances, which is already anticipated to be about $20 billion yearly.

Bridenstine also specified that the estimate represented money on top of the agency's current budget.

However, the amount the space agency is asking for the Artemis program is a far cry from what it spent to send the first man on the moon 50 years ago. But that request, which Congress has not yet evaluated, always included a caveat from Bridenstine specifying that it would be only the beginning of dramatic budget increases required for the program.

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For the first time, NASA has shed some light on how much it expects its moon landing as part of the Artemis program to cost over the next five years.

For comparison, NASA's last moonshot, the Constellation program that never came to fruition, was announced with an estimated cost of $104 billion in 2005. A time-lapse video of a sunset over the earth taken from the International Space Station. Even the Hubble Space Telescope, between its construction, launch and in-orbit servicing, is estimated to have cost more than $10 billion over its life to date.

The Moon, Bridenstine says, is like a stepping stone on the way to Mars.

As the agency is working hard on both goals with dedication they get little time to speak to larger audiences and keep the nation informed about how things are progressing in both objectives which is why there is understandable impatience about the situation. "How do we learn to live and work on another world, namely the moon, and then go on to Mars and do it in a way [so that], when this is complete, the American people have a program they can be very proud of for the long term?"

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