Can NASA really astronauts on the Moon in 2024?

connectVideoNASA shows that the Moon can get burned

According to NASA, the Moon may get burned by solar-wind, which has great influence on the surface and expose it to radiation.

NASA can probably meet the Trump administration aggressive moon-landing timeline, experts say — but it will not be easy.

On Tuesday (26 March), Vice-President Mike Pence instructed NASA to astronauts on the lunar surface by 2024, four years earlier than previously planned. This urgency is necessary for the protection of the country’s leadership and dominance in the space, Pence said.

“The United States must remain first in the space, in this century as in the last, not only to propel our economy and securing our nation, but especially because the rules and values of the space, as in any large frontier, will be written by those who have the courage to get there first, and the commitment to stay,” the vice president said during the fifth meeting of the National Space Council, which he chairs.

Related: US Is in a New Space Race with China and Russia, VP Pence Says

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine expressed confidence that the 2024 goal is achievable. So did aerospace company Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor for Orion, the crew capsule that NASA astronauts will be riding in the direction of the moon and other deep space destinations.

For example, Lockheed representatives said that the company would be able to build a manned lunar lander relatively quickly, by making use of technologies that have been developed for Orion. This lander could touch down by 2024, on condition that it departs from an “early version” of the Gateway , the moon is in orbit around the space station that NASA plans to build in 2022 as a focal point for landings.

“This approach provides an earlier landing ability with reusable technology that also lays a foundation for a future comprehensive, sustainable human presence on the moon,” Lisa Callahan, vice president and general manager of the commercial civil space at Lockheed Martin Space, said in a statement via e-mail. “This is an aggressive but achievable schedule and can be the catalyst to help jump-start a new era of human exploration of the moon, Mars and beyond.”

And experts who have no skin in the game it is agreed that in 2024, is to do good.

“This was not done casually,” said space policy expert John Logsdon, a professor emeritus of political science and international relations at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs in Washington, D. C.

“The people in the space of the board are smart people, and they would not in a date like that without some sense that it was possible,” he told

“I think it is feasible,” space policy expert Brian Weeden, director of program planning in the nonprofit Secure World Foundation, told

However, the stay on this ambitious plan will require a joint effort by NASA, the White House, and the Office of Management and Budget, Logsdon emphasized. Callahan acknowledges this reality in her statement, and Weeden a similar point.

“The question has always been politics,” Weeden said. Historically, the Congress and the White House have the tendency to attract the NASA in different directions, he explained, and the agency does not have enough money to do everything that is asked.

Thus, the executive and the legislative power will have to be on the same page and stay there to 2024 to happen, Weeden said. And NASA might have to adapt its deep-space strategy, he added.

That strategy involves lofting astronauts using the Orion and the Space Launch System (SLS), a giant rocket, which is still in development. SLS is scheduled to launch for the first time in 2020, when it will send Orion on an uncrewed test flight around the moon, an effort known as Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1).

But SLS has experienced multiple delays, so that the assembly 2024-term may require to go with “a kind of commercial solution,” Weeden said. Either way, he added, NASA and the nation will likely need to accept an increased risk.

“If the goal is to get people on the moon by 2024, which does not leave much time to do test flights,” Weeden said. “Whether or not it is too risky, is above my pay grade. This is a huge debate.”

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