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Legislators supporting NASA's funding question the 2024 moon deadline



An influential member of Congress has expressed doubts about NASA's ambitious plans to bring people to the moon by 2024, arguing that 2028 could be a safer time frame for the next moon landing. The concern appears to be causing trouble for NASA's Artemis program, which may not now receive the funding it needs from the legislature.

At a hearing on Wednesday, the Chair of the House Subcommittee, José Serrano (D-NY), said that NASA was funding for the potential astronomical costs of the Space Agency's lunar program. He claimed that some experts have estimated that this could cost more than $ 25 billion over the next five years and that money will be hard to justify, especially since many other government programs require funding.

He did not see it either The reason for the acceleration of the deadline for the landing, which NASA had originally planned for 2028. "Another concern I have is the lack of a serious justification for such costs, as NASA has already programmed the Lunar Emission for 2028," Serrano said at the hearing. "Why does time suddenly have to be shortened by four years ̵

1; the time it takes to run a successful program from a scientific and safety point of view? For many members, the motivation seems to be only a political one, which will give President Trump a moon landing in a possible second term should he be re-elected. "

Vice President Mike Pence called on NASA in March to bring people back to the moon" by all means necessary "within the next five years. As a result, NASA reworked its plans for exploring the human moon to better equip them with a difficult deadline, and named the initiative Artemis. Through the program, the space agency wants to bring the first woman on the lunar surface, which complies with the deadline of 2024.

To launch the Artemis program, the Trump administration demanded an additional $ 1.6 billion for NASA's $ 21 billion, which it had already requested by 2020. This extra money will help accelerate the production of new lunar countries that can bring people to and from the lunar surface, as well as components of a new space station that NASA wants to install near the Moon. Meeting the 2024 deadline will definitely be a challenge for NASA, but NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine was very confident that without such funding, such a feat would be nearly impossible.

Ultimately, Congress must decide how much NASA will receive for next year and how the agency can spend that money. So far, the appropriators have failed to comply with the administration's request for Artemis funding. The appropriators of the Senate have recently passed a financing law to bring NASA up to $ 22.75 billion by 2020. The legislation, however, does not provide the level of funding required by the government to study the human moon. For example, NASA would spend around $ 700 million on lunar development when the government asked for $ 1 billion. A budget law passed this summer largely ignores the $ 1.6 billion change.

Congress is still finalizing its spending law for next year, but legislators will take into account the bills passed by the subcommittees for appropriations in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The federal government is now funded by a rolling resolution that runs until 21st November. If Serrano has enough influence, it could prove to be an obstacle to future funding. However, not all members of the subcommittee supported Serrano's view. Ranking member Robert Aderholt (R-AL) was in favor of the accelerated schedule during the hearing.

But Serrano is the chairman and has expressed skepticism about the target date of 2024. Now it is clear that he is not on board yet. "The eyes are on us. We can not afford to fail. So I think it's better to use the original NASA schedule from 2028 to have a successful, safe and cost-effective mission, "he said.

Bridenstine, who witnessed at the hearing, became acquainted with him The argument that the reason for acceleration is that a new government could enter and revise NASA's entire agenda. "So we have political risks that we have to deal with," said Bridenstine. "It's a political risk if programs take too long, and from a geopolitical perspective, it's a political risk to make sure that our partners are with us and not with them, and I think these are important reasons to move faster."

Ultimately, Serrano said he would not submit a full estimate for the Artemis program, the Bridenstine, and the Trump administration until the next presidential budget request in 2020, expressed concern about the possibility of programs inside and outside NASA When Serrano persuaded Bridenstine to discuss these issues, reports began to emerge that the chairman had actually killed the Artemis mission.

"All these people are already writing on Twitter, newspaper clippings were already out when We were there and say that I just killed the mission, "he said I have no such power. I did not kill the mission. I just had a few questions that I know they need to be answered before we move on or not. "


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