On July 20, 1969, a man stepped on the moon for the first time with the Apollo 11 mission by NASA. Fifty years after this milestone, the United States (US) pressures the space agency to bring astronauts back to the natural satellite by 2024. To achieve its goal, NASA plans to partner with private space companies such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX. , and Blue Origin, founded by Jeff Bezos.
The mission is called Artemis, a tribute to the Greek moon goddess twin sister of Apollo, as one of the plan’s goals, is to bring the first woman to the moon. Unlike the Apollo program, this time, NASA wants to send cargo and supplies to the lunar surface, build a permanent base, and start searching for ice.
Scientists, as well as NASA itself, have confirmed the existence of water on the moon, both frozen and liquid. The crew could extract the resource, melt it and turn it into oxygen to be used as rocket fuel and propel travel to Mars.
The US space agency plans to use rockets from the government-funded Space Launch System to return to the moon within five years. However, these vehicles will not start launching until the end of 2021, and the program will cost billions of dollars – exactly $ 12.2 billion – above the proposed US budget.
So Donald Trump administration officials and NASA executives signal that the agency could ask for help from companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin. If the space industry designs technologies to return to the lunar surface faster and cheaper than the US government plan, the sectors could come together to accelerate the mission.
Meanwhile, SpaceX is advancing and, according to Musk, could try to land on the moon on an uncrewed automated flight before the end of 2021. A year or two later says Musk; the company could already conduct a mission to take astronauts to Earth. Natural satellite. The company plans to accomplish the feat using its reusable Starship rocket, which is being developed to transport people to the moon and Mars.
To the international press, Musk teased NASA, saying completing a private mission could be easier than trying to persuade the agency to get involved in developing the Starship system. “It may be easier to simply land the Starship on the moon than to convince NASA that this is possible,” said the Tesla founder.
But partnership seems to be an increasingly viable solution. NASA Chief Financial Officer Jeff DeWit told Business Insider that he believes the chances of SpaceX landing on the moon with Starship before the space agency “are slim.” However, he stressed that there is indeed a possibility of a partnership with the private sector. “More power for him. I hope he does that,” DeWit said of Musk. “If he can do that, we will partner and get there faster,” he said.
DeWit, who is charged with aiding NASA’s economic decisions, added that because SpaceX is American, he would “love to partner with her to carry out the mission.” He concluded that the agency would “love to bring” to the Artemis program any aerospace company that has advanced technology to help the agency achieve its goals.