NASA administrator says agency plans to 'go to the Moon and stay'
14 February, 2019, 00:39
He also stated that the U.S. space agency contracted nine private space companies "to send cargo to the moon, with the ultimate goal being to develop landers that can take astronauts back to the surface of the Earth's satellite", according to The Independent.
The space agency's administrator, Jim Bridenstine, called for American firms to help develop human lunar landers - "reusable systems for astronauts to land on the moon" - as he said scientists had been given a mandate by President Donald Trump and Congress to return to the moon for the first time since 1972. "This time, when we go to the moon, we will stay", he added.
Ultimately, Bridenstine said, the goal is to get astronauts back on the Moon within the next decade. The moon is a very manageable three days travel from Earth. A key aspect of this proposed approach is to use the Gateway for roundtrip journeys to and from the surface of the Moon.
Even before humans set foot back on the dusty lunar surface, Nasa has plenty of non-humanoid moon plans in the pipeline. NASA has asked companies to research and come up with the flawless way to land humans on the Moon's surface as it wants to begin the development soon enough. Once the ability to harness resources from the Moon for propellant becomes viable, NASA plans to refuel these elements with the Moon's own resources. This process, known as in-situ resource utilization or ISRU, will make the third element also refuelable and reusable.
"Building on our model in low-Earth orbit, well expand our partnerships with industry and other nations to explore the moon and advance our missions to farther destinations such as Mars, with America leading the way", Bridenstine said in a statement.
The agency will send "new science instruments and technology demonstrations" to the moon's surface on "commercial cargo moon deliveries" in the future.
In fact, NASA wants to ensure that there ain't a day without humans on space and this time, there should be a lot of them.