During the speeches of the 2020 campaign, President Donald Trump regularly touches on the subject of commercial space. Trump often says he likes that Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and other billionaires who invest in space, build reusable rockets and pay NASA rent to use the agency's facilities.
Now some councilors are quietly calling on the president to take his enthusiasm. for commercial space and entrepreneurs a step further ̵
NASA, of course, already has its own plan for the moon, called the Artemis Program. According to the plan, the space agency will use its own rocket (space shuttle launch system) and spacecraft (Orion) as vehicles to put two people on the lunar surface by 2024. NASA did not specify how fast it would return human to The moon is a price, but it is likely to cost $ 6 billion to $ 8 billion a year, over the agency's existing budget.
The $ 2 billion competition would not replace Artemis' program, said University of Southern California professor Greg Autry, who serves on the NASA NASA transition team in 2017. Atri helped create the idea and says the competition will be a backup plan. In an interview with Ars, Audrey said that if NASA was not interested in financing this, then it could be another agency in the US (such as the Department of Commerce).
Although $ 2 billion is not enough money for either SpaceX of Musk or Blue Blue of Bezos to land people on the moon, this is a significant start. (Prof. Audrey argues for a $ 5 billion total prize pool, $ 3 billion goes to the first company to reach the moon, while $ 2 billion serves as a reserve prize.) More importantly, such a prize would generate confidence in potential investors in SpaceX and Blue Origin.
Notwithstanding NASA and privately funded, the two companies are working on a technology that would allow the return of a human moon to a much lower cost than NASA's traditional, linear approach to landing in 2024, SpaceX builds a large spacecraft , Starship and the Super Heavy rocket. And Blue Origin has a New Glenn rocket and Blue Moon landers. Everyone would like to partner with NASA, both for funding and for the agency's expertise in human space flight and moon knowledge.
Trump may regard the award as a relatively inexpensive way to achieve NASA's interim moon landing goal when it releases an upward space agency to target its preferred destination, Mars. "Soon, American astronauts will plant stars and stripes on the surface of Mars," Trump said recently during a speech that ignored the moon.
Of course, while the president may propose new programs, Congress must fund them. At least on the surface, it seems that both the US House and the Senate prefer NASA's existing programs, which are carefully separated from members of Congress in their districts and among their preferred contractors.