Race to return to the Moon
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - As the world commemorates 50 years since Apollo 11, there's another moon mission on the horizon. We're going back, but this time to stay.
The Artemis Program is the new Apollo, and President Donald Trump is telling NASA, get a move on. The Moon is going to be a proving grounds for a mission to Mars. Boots on the ground on the moon could happen in 2024.
How can it be done? Why is it taking so long?
We talked about that with Jack Martin, who worked on Apollo as an engineer. He says in our current day in age, NASA is more highly scrutinized by the government and that means things happen slower.
"We were doing things that you can't do today, you've got quality control and you've got OSHA, you got all these people telling you can't do stuff." Martin said.
And that's one reason why NASA is looking to the private sector for vehicles and rockets. Lockheed Martin is building Orien. A capsule.SLS is the rocket it will ride on- being built by Boeing. NASA is also looking for commercial partners to work on Gateway- a concept for a space station that will orbit the moon. Blue origin is working on a lunar lander. Space X has Starship.
"Well we've proved that man can live in space," Martin said.
Lots of companies, countries, and scientists have ideas for things they want to send to the moon. Eric Perlman is a professor of aerospace physics and space sciences at Florida Tech. He says tools for looking and listening further into space should be high on the list.
"On the backside of the moon, to look at radio signals and to do optical telescopes." Perlman said.
Apollo 11 was on the moon for 21 hours.
The next mission to the moon will be for the purpose of colonizing it- staying forever. Budget is an issue. In the 60s, NASA was getting 4% of the federal budget, today it's a fraction of that.
Martin says priorities could change with new administrations. But target for man on Mars is 2033.
Mars is dependent on the Moon.