National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Monday revealed its latest plan to return astronauts to the Moon in 2024 with an estimated cost of meeting that deadline at $28 billion, according to sources, of which $16 billion would be spent on the lunar landing module.
The $28 billion would cover the budgetary years of 2021-25.
The United States Congress, with more than a month ahead of the 2020 Presidential Election, will have to sign off on the financing for a project that has been set by President Donald Trump as a top priority.
In a phone briefing with journalists Monday on the Artemis mission to return human beings to the Moon, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine noted that “political risks” were often the biggest threat to NASA’s work, especially before such a crucial election, the report said.
If Congress approves the first tranche of $3.2 billion by Christmas, “we’re still on track for a 2024 moon landing,” Bridenstine exclaimed.
“To be clear, we’re going to the South Pole,” he said, ruling out the sites of the Apollo landings on the Moon’s equator between 1969 and 1972. “There’s no discussion of anything other than that.”
Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin formed the American crew that landed the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle on July 20, 1969, at 20:17 UTC.