Will NASA Send Astronauts to the Moon in Its Next Lunar Mission?
If there's one thing President Donald Trump is supportive of, it's the mission to the moon. This is the reason why experts say this administration might just conduct another lunar mission.
Reports say that NASA is considering a new mission to send astronauts to the moon. The highly publicized Dragon launched conducted by SpaceX at the historic NASA Launchpad reignited the interest in the lunar mission.
The Apollo mission that sent the first humans to the moon launched from the same pad located at the Kennedy Space Center that is now being used by Elon Musk's commercial space flight company. This means the launch pad could become even more historically significant if SpaceX will be able to launch its Red Dragon mission to Mars.
This year, NASA is pushing forward with its deeper space exploration programs and it seems like the agency is considering the inclusion of astronauts in most of its missions, including the SLS rocket's maiden flight. NASA's acting administrator said that the agency is moving on the "verge of even greater technology."
"I think it makes a tremendous amount of sense to bring the moon back into the equation of building up the capability and using it as a training base before we head off on our much more challenging trip to Mars," astronomer Derrick Pitts said in a statement.
To prove that President Trump supports the lunar mission, the agency was allegedly given $10 billion funding to send astronauts to the moon in 2018, according to a report. The report said that the move is seemingly requested by the administration. Trump may have had issues with climate change but he definitely wanted to reach the moon, if the reports are correct along with sending humans with the first SLS flight.
"Moving the first piloted SLS [Space Launch System] flight from 2022 to 2018 will save the taxpayers four years of SLS spending to get to the same objective, with a total saving in the $10 billion range," Dr. Robert Zubrin, a scientist helping with NASA's mission to Mars said in a statement.
Experts say that the intent to send astronauts to the moon directly relates to the agency's resolve to send humans to Mars next.