On 20 July 1969, the US became the first nation on Earth to land its astronauts on the moon. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin paved the way for five additional manned US trips when their Apollo Lunar Module Eagle touched down on the moon’s surface.
To date, no other country has managed to pull of a manned mission to the moon.
And if US President Donald Trump has his way, the US will be the first to return, possibly inside of five years — with the request of an extra $1.6 billion ‘down payment of confidence’ passing through Congress.
Making NASA great again
How many of you remember the moon landing?
Well…it seems we’ll be able to share and reflect on that same experience again with our children, thanks to Donald Trump…and Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos.
Mr Trump tweeted on Monday, ‘Under my Administration, we are restoring @NASA to greatness and we are going back to the Moon, then Mars. I am updating my budget to include an additional $1.6 billion so that we can return to Space in a BIG WAY!’
NASA had planned to see Astronauts return for a second moon landing by 2028, following launching a ‘Gateway’ station into orbit by 2024.
Excited by the prospect of America touching down on the moon again since 1972, Vice President Mike Pence had discussed cutting down the project by four years only two months before Trump’s pledge.
This increase, in total, will bring the Space Organisation’s total spending for 2020 to $22.6 billion.
The accelerated project is estimated to cost NASA tens of billions of dollars, Reuters reports, and follows a long-enduring struggle to find private partners to fund human space missions since the closing of the shuttle program in 2011.
Turning to the design of the Gateway project and the human landing system, NASA is seeking assistance from Lockheed Martin, Boeing and lastly, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin system — who only last Thursday, released a mock-up of a Blue Origin lunar lander.
‘It’s an exciting time,’ Blue Origin officially tweeted on Wednesday. ‘Thanks @NASA for leading the way back to the Moon, and this time to stay.’
Introducing ‘Artemis’ — twin sister of Apollo…
Keeping poetic with the tradition of Greek Mythology and American Space Exploration, NASA is naming the project ‘Artemis’ — the goddess of the hunt and the moon, and twin sister of Apollo.
Fitting, don’t you think?
NASA administrator, Jim Bridenstine, seems to think so, reflecting on the original program operated almost 50 years ago.
‘I have a daughter, she’s 11 years old, and I want her to see herself in the same position that our current, very diverse astronaut corps currently sees itself, having the opportunity to go to the Moon,’ he said.
Since the moon landing, only two other nations have succeeded in ‘soft’ landings — China, and the former Soviet Union — though, they were both unmanned.
And given the state of things, perhaps this is yet another area Mr Trump wants to prove America is superior.
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