NASA’s planning to send people back to the Moon’s surface in about a decade

<em>An artistic rendering of NASA’s planned lunar station Gateway.</em>

NASA officials presented their latest goals yesterday for human space exploration over the next decade, detailing the agency’s plans to build a space station in orbit around the Moon and then send humans to and from the lunar surface. Based on its timeline, NASA is aiming for the first astronauts to visit this lunar station — called the Gateway — as early as 2024, with human landings on the Moon happening sometime after 2026.

This timeline matches what Vice President Mike Pence asserted during a speech at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston last week: astronauts would visit the Gateway before the end of Trump’s (potential) second term. However, this means NASA’s return to the lunar surface, a policy directive made by President Trump…

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