NASA administrator says agency plans to 'go to the Moon and stay'

James Marshall
February 11, 2019

"That starts with the Gateway - a lunar orbiting outpost created to ensure the safe transit of astronauts to the lunar surface and back home again. We are inviting industry and other potential partners to meet with us next week at NASA headquarters to discuss human lunar landers", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine wrote in an op-ed at news site on Friday.

NASA is now focused on its latest Mars probe, InSight, on the planet's surface Monday. He continued by saying that the return to the Moon would commence next week when private corporations would meed with NASA to debate the future landing on the Earth's natural satellite.

However the NASA chief clarified that sending humans to the moon again does not mean doing "the same as we did 50 years ago".

NASA, the United States space agency is planning to launch a human moon mission soon, and this time, they are aiming to make astronauts stay on the lunar surface. We are going to the moon with innovative new technologies and systems to explore more locations across the surface than we ever thought possible. Private sector innovation is key to these NASA missions, and the NextSTEP public-private partnership model is advancing capabilities for human spaceflight while stimulating commercial activities in space. A key aspect of this proposed approach is to use the Gateway for roundtrip journeys to and from the surface of the Moon. The base would be used as a checkpoint between Earth and Mars while also allowing astronauts to study the moon in close detail.

"The Gateway will be the home base for the first reusable human lunar lander system". The agency is also working on technologies to make rocket propellants using water ice and regolith from the Moon.

Nasa is ramping up plans to go back to the moon on a more permanent basis.

NASA published a formal request for proposals to an appendix of the second Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP-2) Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) on February 7, and responses are due March 25.

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