NASA Chief Charles Bolden: 'NASA Is Not Going To The Moon With A Human'
The head of NASA has confirmed that the space agency will not be sending a man to the Moon any time soon, even if it's what some people want.
"NASA is not going to the Moon with a human as a primary project probably in my lifetime. And the reason is, we can only do so many things," said NASA chief Charles Bolden according to a report on the blog SpacePolitics.
He did say, however, that should other nations take the lead in sending a manned mission to the Moon that NASA would like to participate.
Whether man will have another rendezvous with the Moon is still up in the air, but there is seemingly still a lot of interest in touching back down on Earth's satellite. Russia is reportedly planning three unmanned lunar expeditions, with the first planned for 2015.
Citing a lack of enthusiasm in the scientific community for a manned mission to an asteroid, Al Carnesale of UCLA, suggested a lunar mission might get people more excited.
"There's a great deal of enthusiasm, almost everywhere, for the Moon," he said at a joint meeting of the Space Studies Board and the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board. "I think there might be, if no one has to swallow their pride and swallow their words, and you can change the asteroid mission a little bit... it might be possible to move towards something that might be more of a consensus."
Though Bolden shot down the idea of NASA leading a moon expedition, he expressed support for other space agencies taking on the mission.
"They all have dreams of putting human on the Moon," he said. "I have told every head of agency of every partner agency that if you assume the lead in a human lunar mission, NASA will be a part of that. NASA wants to be a participant."
Bolden warned of the importance of staying on target with space exploration. He said that if the next administration tries to change course and get NASA to lead another manned expedition to the moon that "it means we are probably, in our lifetime, in the lifetime of everybody sitting in this room, we are probably never again going to see Americans on the Moon, on Mars, near an asteroid, or anywhere. We cannot continue to change the course of human exploration."
NASA's Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first to land on the Moon on July 20, 1969. Five additional successful landings followed through to1972.