Kevin Wolf / AFP
NASA will not be ready to send astronauts to the moon by 2024 Predictably because, among other reasons, the agency’s internal watchdog found that their spacesuits would not be ready.
in a UN report This month, NASA’s inspector general found that due to delays in spacesuit development, “a lunar landing in late 2024, as currently planned by NASA, is not possible.” The report blames a lack of funds, the COVID-19 pandemic and “technical challenges” for the delay. The inspector general estimated that the closest spacesuits would be ready in April 2025.
The last time humans landed on the moon was in 1972. The spacesuits still used by NASA astronauts still rely on technology from the same era.
It was NASA Developing new spacesuits Over the past 14 years, it has cost $420 million to date. The agency is expected to spend an additional $625 million before the two flyable suits are ready in fiscal year 2025.
Space suits aren’t the only reason NASA won’t reach the moon by 2024. The inspector general noted that delays include new space launch system missileThe Orion capsule and lunar lander prevent her from reaching the moon in time.
in April, NASA chose SpaceX To build a lunar probe worth $2.9 billion. But a rival company, Blue Origin, has repeatedly objected, which the inspector general noted has caused delays.
And on Thursday, after the inspector general’s report was released, work began on the lunar lander delayed again: suspended for two and a half months in response to The lawsuit brought by Blue Origin.
Landing on the new moon is part of Artemed ProgramNS Which specifically aims to include a woman and a person of color among the people who will walk on the moon whenever possible. Artemis’ subsequent expeditions will seek to establish a “base camp” for long-term exploration for a month or two. NASA says This would help inform future missions to Mars.
The moon landing was previously scheduled for 2028, but in 2019 the Trump administration pushed it forward for four years. NASA has not yet set a new official target date for a moon landing.
“Sending the first woman and first lions to the lunar surface and establishing a long-term presence on the lunar surface under the command of Artemis is a priority for NASA,” a NASA spokesperson told NPR in a statement. “The agency is evaluating the current budget and schedule for the Artemis missions and will provide an update later this year.”