Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Nasa plans for return to Moon set to cost $28B



Nasa plans for return to Moon set to cost $28B

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa). AFP

Nasa plans for return to Moon set to cost $28B

The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) on Monday revealed its latest plan to return astronauts to the Moon in 2024, and estimated the cost of meeting that deadline at $28 billion, $16 billion of which would be spent on the lunar landing module.

Congress, which faces elections on November 3, will have to sign off on the financing for a project that has been set by President Donald Trump as a top priority. The $28 billion would cover the budgetary years of 2021-2025.

In a phone briefing with journalists on 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.

Former President Barack Obama cancelled plans for a manned Mars mission, after his predecessor spent billions of dollars on the project.

If Congress approves the first tranche of $3.2 billion by Christmas, “we’re still on track for a 2024 moon landing”, Bridenstine said.

“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.”

Three different projects compete to build the lunar lander that will carry two astronauts – one of them a woman – to the Moon from their vessel Orion.

The first one is being developed by Blue Origin LLC, founded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, in partnership with Lockheed Martin Corp, Northrop Grumman Corp and Draper Inc. The other two projects are being undertaken by Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp (SpaceX) and by the company Dynetics Inc.

The first flight, Artemis I, scheduled for November next year, will be unmanned – the new giant rocket Space Launch System (SLS), currently in its test phase, will take off for the first time with the Orion capsule.

Artemis II, in 2023, will take astronauts around the Moon but will not land.

Finally, Artemis III will be the equivalent of Apollo 11 in 1969, but the stay on the Moon will last longer – for a week – and will include two to five “extravehicular activities”.

Bridenstine said: “The science that we would be doing is very different than anything we’ve done before.

“We have to remember during the Apollo era, we thought the moon was bone dry. Now we know that there’s lots of water ice and we know that it’s at the South Pole.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Hun Sen: Manet to be candidate for prime minister

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has reaffirmed that his oldest son Hun Manet will be his successor as Prime Minister if he is elected. Speaking during the inauguration of a new sewage treatment facility in Preah Sihanouk province on December 2, Hun Sen said Manet will be