Sunday February 17, 2019

NASA Wants to Return to the Moon as Early as This Year

Some are calling it a fantasy, but following a partnership with several private spaceflight companies, NASA believes it could return to the lunar surface as early as this year. The goal this time is establishing a settlement and practicing "in-situ resource utilization": that is, "commercial lunar partners will work on how to mine and recycle resources on the moon and make them available for future mission use." Hydrogen and oxygen from extracted water could be used to power rockets, for instance.

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All these commercial endeavors would also need to integrate with NASA’s planned Lunar Gateway. This would be a space station in orbit around the moon that would serve as Grand Central Station for robotic or crewed missions to the lunar surface, or even for deep space missions. NASA hopes to open the Gateway by 2026, with the first power and propulsion elements entering orbit in 2022.