Nasa video says it is going back to the Moon – and staying there

Moon base could be a useful place to launch Mars missions from

Andrew Griffin
Monday 19 November 2018 17:21
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Nasa announce they plan to return to Moon 'to stay'

Nasa says it is going back to the Moon – and this time it's going to stay there.

As well as setting up base there, Nasa hopes to use the Moon as a way to launch future missions to Mars and beyond, it said.

After laying out the success it has already had, the space agency says that it is "returning to the moon – to stay". After that it will "go beyond, to Mars".

"We are NASA – and after 60 years, we're just getting started," says voice actor Mike Rowe in the video.

The claims come off the back of the signing of Space Policy Directive 1, which was signed by Donald Trump at the end of last year. That policy commits Nasa to work with partners to launch a human mission to the Moon, and head onto Mars from there.

"The directive I am signing today will refocus America’s space program on human exploration and discovery," said Mr Trump in a statement at the time. "It marks a first step in returning American astronauts to the Moon for the first time since 1972, for long-term exploration and use.

"This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprints – we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars, and perhaps someday, to many worlds beyond."

Humans have not been to the Moon since 1972, when Apollo 11 became the last mission to carry a crew outside of low-Earth orbit at all, let alone to the Moon. Since then, focus has shifted onto the International Space Station, and interesting in heading to the Moon decreased.

But in recent years there has been growing interest in heading back to our nearest neighbour, in part because of its use as a stopover on the way to Mars. Nasa plans to begin working towards a lunar base with a lander in the next couple of years, putting a lander on both the Moon and Mars in 2020 – followed by humans just a decade later.

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