That’s according to the space agency’s administrator, Jim Bridenstine, who called for “the best and brightest of American industry to help design and develop human lunar landers”, in response to what he says is a clear mandate from Donald Trump and Congress to once again get astronauts out of Earth’s orbit.
In a post detailing his agency’s lofty goals — to return astronauts to the moon, and one day send them to Mars for the first time in human history — Mr Bridenstine said that, this time, the US is playing for keeps.
“As a lifelong NASA supporter, I am thrilled to be talking once again about landing humans on the moon,” Mr Bridenstine wrote on Ozy. “But to some, saying we’re returning to the moon implies we’ll be doing the same as we did 50 years ago. I want to be clear — that is not our vision.”
He continued: “We are going to the moon with innovative new technologies and systems to explore more locations across the surface than we ever thought possible. This time, when we go to the moon, we will stay.”
Mr Bridenstine said that the ambitious plans will begin next week, when partners from private industry and elsewhere have been invited to Nasa headquarters to discuss lunar landers.
So far, Nasa has already contracted with nine 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.
Ultimately, Mr Bridenstine said, the goal is to get astronauts back on the moon within the next decade.
“Billions of people around the world will watch history being made as astronauts explore more of the surface for longer periods of time than ever before, and help us prepare for missions to Mars and other destinations," he wrote.
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