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Current Affairs

NASA delays human mission to moon

Date: 18 November 2021 Tags: Space

Issue

NASA has postponed its moon mission to 2025. This will be the first moon mission after 1972 Apollo Lunar mission.

 

Background

The Artemis mission had intended to send the first man and woman to moon by the year 2024.

 

Details

The delay has taken place after a judgment issued by a federal court in favour of Blue Origin regarding awarding of $2.9 billion contract to SpaceX by NASA.

 

The lawsuit

  • NASA had selected 10 companies including Blue Origin in 2018 for developing technologies to use space-based resources for missions to the Moon and Mars. 

  • The $2.9 billion contract was awarded to SpaceX for building a lunar lander to transport astronauts to the Moon. 

  • Blue Origin has filed a case alleging that NASA was “unlawful and improper” in its evaluation of the proposals.

 

Other reasons for delay

  • The delay could be due to the first-time development challenges and the lawsuit that was filed by Blue Origin.

  • The congress also did not provide enough funds for other competitors working with NASA under the Human Landing System (HLS).

 

Moon missions

  • Till 1972, 12 American astronauts have walked on the moon. They managed to bring over 382 kg of lunar rock and soil back to Earth for study.

  • Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin were the first humans to walk on the moon when their Apollo 11 mission managed to land on moon.

  • The reason for Artemis is not just scientific. NASA wants to show American leadership in space and to establish a strategic presence on the Moon.

 

Other moon missions

  • Apart from US, Russia, China, India, Japan and European Space Agency have sent missions to explore the Moon.

  • China conducted the first-ever landing on the Moon’s far side in 2019. ISRO will be launching Chandrayaan-3 consisting of lander and rover.