The space agency has released their updated road map, and it outlines plans to put a space station on the moon next year.
NASA has just made an absolutely staggering announcement in releasing their updated road map, as it calls for putting a space station on the moon next year. The road map shifts the focus away from Mars and back toward the object that fascinated us back in the 1960s and 1970s, with the ambitious goal to build a lunar space station starting in 2019.
The move comes after President Trump directed NASA to refocus on the moon rather than Mars. However, the agency is not abandoning its plans for the Red Planet, and will instead use a visit to the moon and a space station there as a sort of “launching point” for an eventual mission to Mars.
Our return to the moon will look a lot different than it did during the Apollo program. For one thing, it will involve setting up a permanent presence rather than simply going for a brief visit. And it will also involve commercial and international partners, unlike last time when it was an exclusively American government effort.
“The Moon will play an important role in expanding human presence deeper into the solar system,” said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Coupled with the capabilities enabled by the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, these missions will usher in a new era of exploration of the Moon and its resources, and provide a training ground for human missions to Mars.”