Should the NASA budget be higher

More money for NASA should enable manned moon landing by 2024

Washington - Donald Trump leaves no doubt that he is very serious about his plans to get Americans back to the moon as soon as possible. The US president called on Congress on Monday to approve NASA additional funding of $ 1.6 billion in the coming year. This would increase the US space agency's annual budget to $ 22.6 billion.

If the Trump administration has its way, astronauts should land on the moon again by 2024 at the latest. NASA itself had originally targeted 2028. As US Vice President Mike Pence said two months ago, there should also be a woman among the next moon travelers. "The first woman and the next man on the moon will both be American astronauts who took off from American soil in American rockets," said Pence on March 26 at a meeting of the National Space Council in Huntsville.

Outpost for the jump to Mars

An outpost will then be set up on the moon as the basis for a planned Mars mission. Trump is now propagating this plan via Twitter:

NASA boss Jim Bridenstine also believes this is feasible: "The time is right for this challenge, and I assured the Vice President that we - the people at NASA - are ready for the challenge," said Bridenstine.

With a view to delays in the development of the new SLS (Space Launch System) launcher, the NASA Vice President had accused in his speech a lack of commitment and bureaucratic inertia. The rocket should originally have completed an unmanned test flight in 2017, but the date was postponed several times after problems with the development. Bridenstine now announced the coming year for a first test flight, in 2022 the rocket will bring people near the moon and back for the first time. Bridenstine said they are looking for creative approaches to building and testing the SLS.

"Failure is not an option"

In March, Pence left no doubt about the five-year plan for a manned landing on Earth's satellite. Failure is not an option. If NASA is currently unable to do this, the organization must be changed, not the plan. And should it be necessary, one would rely on commercial partners to implement the goals: "If commercial rockets are the only way to get American astronauts to the moon in five years, then it will be commercial rockets," said Pence .

He compared the situation with that in the 1960s, when the US and Russia competed for supremacy in space. There is currently a comparable race in space - "only that the stakes are even higher today". Pence mentioned China, which last caused a stir with the first landing of a probe on the back of the moon. (red, APA, May 14, 2019)