Back to the Moon – but why?
President Donald Trump’s call on NASA to land American astronauts on the Moon by 2024 is the latest episode in a long-running saga of making grand promises about human spaceflight.
Presidents in recent decades have sought to recapture the world’s imagination in that same way by tasking NASA with accomplishing new feats. Despite their passion, these administrations – both Democratic and Republican – have not always given NASA consistent direction on human spaceflight. The US public also remains divided about whether the next big challenge should be returning humans to the lunar surface or landing on Mars. The space community also disagrees about how those missions should be planned and funded, to ensure one goal does not indefinitely delay the other.
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