Apollo 11 Bootprint One of the first steps taken on the Moon, this is an image of Buzz Aldrin's bootprint from the Apollo 11 mission. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon on July 20, 1969. NASA will study moon samples collected during Apollo missions that have been untouched in 50 years, the agency announced. NASA said it has chosen nine teams, awarding them $8 million, to learn more about the samples gathered through the Apollo program, which launched in the 1960s. "By studying these precious lunar samples for the first time, a new generation of scientists will help advance our understanding of our lunar neighbor and prepare for the next era of exploration of the Moon and beyond," Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C., said in a statement released Monday.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine delivers remarks at the Johnson Space Center in Houston on Aug. 2, 2018. HOUSTON -- Jim Bridenstine wants to make sure that there is never another day when humans are not in space. "In fact," the NASA administrator said, "we want lots of humans in space." Bridenstine, who became the space agency's chief in April, recently sat down with Space.com and other reporters during a visit to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, during which he shared what he saw as his priority for NASA going forward. "When you look back at history, look back at the end of the Apollo program, 1972 when we didn't go back to the moon... you look back and there was a period of time there after Apollo and before the space shuttles when we had a gap of human spaceflight capability," Bridenstine said.
NASA is accelerating plans to return to the Moon by 2028 for the first time since 1972 and claim that they will be there'to stay'. The aerospace agency's head Jim Bridenstine said they plan to make the moon sustainable for humans so they can go back and forth regularly. Commander Gene Cernan was the eleventh and last man to walk on the lunar surface during the Apollo 17 mission 47 years ago. President Trump said in 2017 that he wants to return Americans to the lunar surface and establish a foundation there for an eventual mission to Mars. As a way-station for trips to and from the lunar surface, NASA want to build a space station, dubbed Gateway, in the Moon's orbit by 2026.
NASA officials are now aiming to put humans on Mars sometime in the 2030s - and as early as 2035. Administrator Jim Bridenstine has suggested that the new timeline is a result of the accelerated mission to the moon, as the space agency is planning a return to the lunar surface in just five years. Officials hope the moon mission will help humans learn how to live and work in another world and prove capabilities and technology, allowing them to be prepared for the Red Planet. Bridenstine made these announcements at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Washington, as he recruited partners of the International Space Station to assist with the Artemis mission - the official name of the mission back to the moon. 'If we are accelerating the moon landing, we are accelerating the Mars landing,' said Bridenstine, NASA's Administrator, according to Space.com.
Sixty years ago, spurred by competition with the Soviet Union, the United States created NASA, launching a journey that would take Americans to the moon within a decade. US President Dwight Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act on July 29, 1958. Since then, the US space agency has seen glorious achievements and crushing failures in its drive to push the frontiers of space exploration, including a fatal launch pad fire in 1967 that killed three and two deadly shuttle explosions in 1986 and 2003 that took 14 lives. Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong took this photograph with a 70mm lunar surface camera. With one small step off a ladder, commander of the Apollo 11 mission Neil Armstrong of the US became the first human to set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969, before the eyes of hundreds of millions of awed television viewers worldwide.