0
$\begingroup$

NASA is sixty years old still going strong.

There are few organizations that have made such an impact to man's quest for knowledge in such a short time span. The contributions are many, and its contributions are in diverse fields such as, physics, medicine, math, as well as the exploration of space.

Now, does the agency seek to explore the moon with manned missions once again, a new, proverbial moonshot?

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ I've adjusted the grammar a bit to make your question clearer. It is a very good question, and it may have been answered previously in this site, or it may receive a new answer. Either way, an answer will mention that while NASA may propose or explore the feasibility of various missions, it is the branch of the government in charge of funding NASA who decides (and then re-decides, and then re-decides, and then re-decides) what NASA will do. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jul 30 '18 at 3:27
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think this question can only be answered by delving deep into US polics, which is both speculative, and probably off-topic here. $\endgroup$ – Rikki-Tikki-Tavi Jul 30 '18 at 5:17
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think it can be seen as a straigjhtforward question about current the NASA mission as set by the US government. As such it might be quite easy to google and possibly answered before, but I don't think it's off topic or opinion-based. $\endgroup$ – Steve Linton Jul 30 '18 at 6:33
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I diagree with the close votes. The question has a fairly simple answer not based on opinion. $\endgroup$ – Hobbes Jul 30 '18 at 7:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @uhoh I wouldn't say that discussing politics is off topic per se, but speculating about future developments of politics seems off topic to me. For the record, I didn't downvote. I just think that the question needs to be specified in a way that allowes a specific, non-speculative answer. $\endgroup$ – Rikki-Tikki-Tavi Jul 30 '18 at 8:38
6
$\begingroup$

Yes and no. Every new president sets a mandate for NASA. The past few administrations have been setting mandates for Mars missions, the current administration wants to go to the Moon.

The big difference between all these and the Apollo project is NASA's budget. The Apollo mandate included a huge increase in NASA's budget, to 4% of the total federal budget. These days, NASA's budget is only 0.5% of the total federal budget and new mandates are not accompanied by a budget increase. So any large-scale mandate such as Mars or Moon missions ends up being unattainable before the next election (and the next potential change in mandate).

The most recent mandate is by president Trump:

President Trump has formally told NASA to send U.S. astronauts back to the moon. "The directive I'm signing today will refocus America's space program on human exploration and discovery," he said.

NASA has huge ongoing commitments (programs like the ISS) that it can't cancel at a whim to free up money for a Moon or Mars mission.

NASA has done lots of work that will inform a Mars mission if it ever gets off the ground. For example, the ISS has been very valuable in teaching us how we can live in space for longer periods, which is research we'll need for e.g. a Mars mission.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Also Apollo program took MOST part of NASA budget that time, but now SLS/Orion do not take most part of current NASA budget. $\endgroup$ – Heopps Jul 30 '18 at 21:04
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I wonder if this could use an update? $\endgroup$ – uhoh Aug 9 at 11:39
2
$\begingroup$

A second manned Moon mission would be nothing new. What about a combination of a unmanned moon rover(s) with a lander for samples return?

The rover(s) could gather samples durings months in a large area and bring them to the landers return module. This could be done with a much smaller rocket than a Saturn V. Several rockets may be used for transport of the rovers and the sample return module.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Not a second manned (or crewed) moon mission, but a second project. The first project had six, seven or nine crewed moon missions depending on how you count. $\endgroup$ – Oscar Lanzi Aug 11 at 22:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.