NASA announcement: Space agency to establish moon base ‘within a DECADE’

An artist's illustration of a completed lunar Gateway flying around the Moon with a commercially-developed lunar lander. Image Credit NASA

"As a lifelong NASA supporter, I am thrilled to be talking once again about landing humans on the moon".

"We want to get started as quickly as possible". The new NASA challenge is following the directive signed by President Donald Trump on December 11 instructing NASA to send USA astronauts to the Moon for the first time since the Apollo 17 mission 45 years ago. Jim Bridenstine, NASA's administrator confirmed this news, and he made it clear that the primary aim of this upcoming mission is not just collecting samples and returning to earth, but to make humans stay on earth's one and only natural satellite. "That's the mandate we've been given by President Donald Trump and a supportive bipartisan Congress", he writes at Ozy.

Bridenstine went on to say NASA is eager to get started "as quickly as possible" and have already committed to working with nine United States companies to start sending new science instruments to the moon's surface on commercial cargo deliveries. As per Bridenstine, NASA has already invited private partners to the space agency's headquarters to discuss lunar landers.

The Gateway will be a space station positioned in orbit around the Moon that will serve as a jumping-off point for missions to and from the surface. The base would be used as a checkpoint between Earth and Mars while also allowing astronauts to study the moon in close detail.

"The Gateway will be the home base for the first reusable human lunar lander system". The agency is also working on technologies to make rocket propellants using water ice and regolith from the Moon.

Nasa is ramping up plans to go back to the moon on a more permanent basis.

The Yutu-2 Moon rover and Chang'e-4 lander would resume their science and exploration missions on February 28th and March 1st, respectively, according to the Chinese space agency release, with the rover needing to unfold solar panels and dissipate heat.

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