NASA’s upcoming Moon mission could take a hit. According to the agency’s acting chief Steve Jurczyk, the 2024 goal to land humans on Moon is no longer a realistic target. Steve is serving as the space agency’s acting administrator after Jim Bridenstine resigned as NASA administrator in January soon after Joe Biden took oath as the President. Steve said that the engineers are reviewing the Artemis program to take it forward in the most efficient way. NASA has set a target to land the first woman and the next man on the lunar surface in 2024. Steve said that the 2024 goal is not feasible because of the last two years of appropriations. He said that lack of funds has made the 2024 target difficult to achieve.
NASA has already signed pacts with multiple private aerospace companies and other firms to provide logistical support for the program. The US space agency did not send any human mission to Moon in the last five decades. Apollo 17 in 1972 was NASA’s last moon mission. Steve, however, said that the Joe Biden administration’s announcement to support the Artemis program is a welcome move. The success of the Artemis program will help in planning the human exploration of Mars in the future. The agency wants to use the Artemis program to set up a base on Moon that will pave the way for the Red Planet’s exploration. The new administration has also said that it will sully support the human mission to Mars.
Steve noted that the agency has delayed the plan to award the contracts for a lunar lander. The contract was slated to be executed by the end of February. It has now delayed it to April. He said that agency needs more time to study the proposals before giving its nod for final development. The three companies that have submitted proposals to develop the system to land humans on Moon are SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Dynetics. Moon is the only object outside Earth where humans have set foot. The success of the Artemis program will help NASA strategize its future deep space exploration program by humans and also a crewed mission to Mars.