How important is NASA's lunar mission in 2024

NASA boss: USA will be permanently present on the moon

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Washington - The US space agency wants to return to the moon as soon as possible - and establish itself there permanently. Nasa director has that Jim Bridenstine announced to journalists on Thursday. "It's important that we get back to the moon as soon as possible," said Bridenstine. "This time we go to the moon we will stay."

"We're not going to leave flags and footprints and then come home and not return for 50 years," assured Bridenstine, looking at the previous US manned lunar missions. Unlike "all other countries in the world", the USA would make the moon program "sustainable", "so that people can regularly fly back and forth".

Unmanned landing until 2024

Since Eugene Cernan, who landed on the moon in December 1972 as part of the "Apollo 17" mission, no US astronaut has been on Earth's satellite. According to Bridenstine, the return should succeed by 2028. In preparation, NASA wants to establish a space station in lunar orbit and drop an unmanned vehicle on the moon by 2024. She already has one for that Bidding process for private space companies started, the deadline ends on March 25th.

US President Donald Trump is behind NASA's ambitions. He had in December signed a directivewho except one Return of US astronauts a manned one on the moon Mars mission envisages, possibly in the 2030s. In addition to NASA, Elon Musk also wants to go to the moon: With his company SpaceX, he wants the Japanese one as early as 2023 Billionaire Yusaku Maezawa send into space. He is to be the first space tourist to circumnavigate the moon, together with six to eight artists from all over the world.

China competes with the USA

A major competitor to the US in space is China. Beijing is pumping billions into its militarily organized space program. At the beginning of January, China managed to get one for the first time Probe on the far side of the moon to land. "Chang'e 4" as well as the moon vehicle "Yutu-2" (Jade Rabbit 2), which they have exposed, are now collecting data there. In 2019, China is planning another unmanned landing to bring rock samples to Earth. By 2021, the People's Republic wants to develop a reusable launcher that can transport more cargo than NASA and the private US space company SpaceX.

A Chinese should set foot on the earth's satellite for the first time by 2030 at the latest. The lunar missions are only part of China's ambitious space program, which also includes the construction of a space station around 2022. China's space projects not only serve prestige and scientific and technical development, military interests are also clearly pursued. Military experts in China like to point out that future wars will be won in space.

Russia wants to build on Soviet programs

Russia's ambition has also been aroused: cosmonauts are expected to land on the moon for the first time in the early 2030s. They are supposed to stay for 14 days. Russia wants to pick up where the Soviet Union left off decades ago. After technical breakdowns, Moscow put its costly plans to land on the moon on hold in the 1970s. This time the Russians are relying on cooperation with the USA, Europe and China in their exploration of the moon. The head of the Roscosmos space agency, Dmitri Rogozin, recently emphasized that his country would not be satisfied with the role of junior partner.

Russia also wants to participate in the US project of a space station that will orbit the moon. From there, flights deeper into space should be possible, so the hope. Rogozin said his country was developing heavy-duty missiles to build such a station. Before that, Moscow wants to send several probes to the earth's satellite. (red, APA, February 15, 2019)