The space agency aims to send astronauts to Mars by 2033, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said at a Tuesday congressional hearing.
"We can move up the Mars landing by moving up the moon landing (to 2024)," Bridenstine told the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. "The moon is the best place to prove those capabilities and technologies." The sooner we can achieve that objective, the sooner we can move on to Mars. "
The original return to the moon was scheduled for 2028, and it's unclear if NASA will be able to meet the new deadline. The racket that Boeing is building for the moon mission – called Space Launch System or SLS – has experienced delays.