Category: nasa

Trump flips on space goals: ‘NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon’ and focus on Mars

President Donald Trump on Friday upended his long-stated goal of returning American astronauts to the moon by the end of a potential second term, instead saying the federal space agency should focus instead on the further reaches of space.

“For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon – We did that 50 years ago,” he wrote on Twitter as he jetted back to Washington from Ireland.

“They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part), Defense and Science!” Trump wrote.

There were several unclear aspects of the message, not least of which was Trump’s description of Mars “of which the Moon is a part.”

Earlier Friday, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told an audience at the International Space Development Conference in Washington that “the very first space policy directive of the President said, ‘We’re going to go back to the moon.’ ”

Bridenstine promised that the next voyage to the moon would be done “differently than we have ever done it before” because “we’re going to stay.”

Late last month, Trump announced he was adding $1.6 billion to NASA’s budget “so that we can return to Space in a BIG WAY!”

“Under my Administration, we are restoring @NASA to greatness and we are going back to the Moon, then Mars,” he tweeted.

As part of the budget increase, the administration said it would begin efforts to send the first woman to the moon, nearly five decades after the last US landing. Only 12 humans, all male, have ever walked on the moon and they were all American.

The budget increase was on top of the initial $21 billion budget request from NASA to accelerate the return to the lunar surface.

Trump’s comments Friday coincided with the birthday of Vice President Mike Pence, who in March announced the administration’s plans for Americans to return to the moon within the next five years as the 50th anniversary of the first manned mission to the moon approaches.

Speaking at the United States Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, Pence said that the estimated year of 2028 for the next American on the moon was “just not good enough.”

“It is the stated policy of this administration and the United States of America to return American astronauts to the moon within the next five years,” Pence said.

The renewed moonshot has not been universally popular. Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins told CNN this week that NASA should prioritize a Mars landing — and said he has doubts about Trump’s leadership on the matter.

“I don’t think he’s too much aware of Mars. Maybe he doesn’t understand that there is a planet Mars,” Collins said in an interview for the new CNN podcast “Apollo 11: Beyond the Moon.”

An astronaut recorded a time lapse video of Earth and it’s breathtaking

By Ashley Strickland, CNN

NASA astronaut Nick Hague has an office with a view to rival anyone on Earth because he can see all of it.

Over the weekend, NASA shared a stunning timelapse of Hague’s view from the International Space Station. The video condensed 30 minutes of orbit time around the Earth, going from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, into one beautiful minute. The many clouds visible only added to the awe-inspiring view taken from 254 miles above Earth.

“Took a moment to capture the beauty of our planet today. I was awestruck as I watched the wispy clouds disappear into the shadows,” Hague tweeted.

Hague launched to the space station on March 14 and will return to Earth in October.

Recently, Hague also had a chance to speak to his son’s class.

“I got a chance to speak with my son’s class today. Kind of like ‘bring you dad to school’ day,” Hague tweeted on May 17.

He also shared an update after his first two months on the station.

“2 months into my stay on @Space_Station! What’s it like adjusting to life in space? My back stretched out due to lack of gravity & I’m now 2 inches taller, fluid shifts make me feel a bit stuffy, & the tops of my feet now have calluses since we use them like hands on handrails,” he tweeted on May 21.

Hague launched to the station as part of Expedition 59 along with NASA astronaut Christina Koch and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin. They joined NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Roscosmos station commander Oleg Kononenko and the Canadian Space Agency’s David Saint-Jacques, who were already on station.

Hague and Ovchinin got a second chance after their original October 11 launch failed.

Shortly after launch, there was an anomaly with the booster, and the launch ascent was aborted, resulting in a ballistic landing of the spacecraft, according to a NASA statement.

“We were violently shaken side to side, thrust back into our seats as the launch escape system ripped us away from the rocket,” Hague described. “As all of that’s happening, you’re being shaken around, vision is blurry. I hear the alarm sounding and see the red light where the engine has had an emergency. I had the vivid realization we aren’t making it to orbit today, we’ve been pulled off rocket and we have to land.”

They walked away from the harrowing landing on Earth with a few bumps and bruises, eager to return to space.

Together, the space station crew members have been conducting experiments including biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science in the microgravity lab.

NASA plans to land the first woman on the moon by 2024

(CNN) — NASA is planning on sending the first woman ever and the first man in nearly five decades to the moon by 2024, thanks to an additional increase to the agency’s budget by President Trump.

Only 12 humans, all male, have ever walked on the moon and they were all American, according to Bettina Inclán, NASA Communications Director. All 12 men were Americans.

“The last person walked on the Moon in 1972,” Inclán told CNN in a statement. “No woman has ever walked on the lunar surface.”

Trump announced Monday that he is adding $1.6 billion to NASA’s budget “so that we can return to Space in a BIG WAY!”

“Under my Administration, we are restoring @NASA to greatness and we are going back to the Moon, then Mars,” he tweeted.

The budget increase is on top of the initial $21 billion budget request from NASA to accelerate the return to the lunar surface.

“This investment is a down payment on NASA’s efforts and will allow us to move forward in design, development and exploration,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

NASA announced Monday that Trump challenged the agency to land at the south pole of the moon by 2024. That would be Trump’s last year in office if he is re-elected. In December 2017, Trump signed Space Policy Directive 1, which called for NASA to send humans to the moon for the first time since 1972 for “long-term exploration and use” and missions to other planets.

The space agency also revealed the new mission’s name will be Artemis, the Greek goddess of the moon and twin sister of Apollo. NASA’s Apollo 11 mission succeeded in landing the first humans on the moon on July 20, 1969.

“Fifty years after Apollo, the Artemis program will carry the next man and first woman to the moon,” said Bridenstine during a press call.

“To land American astronauts on the Moon by 2024, we are working through the acquisition approach for the various projects,” said NASA in a statement. “Our efforts will include new work at NASA centers to provide the key technologies and scientific payloads needed for the lunar surface, adding to efforts already underway across the country.”

NASA hopes that more exploration of the moon will help the US establish a strategic presence in space and grow their international partnerships. One billion dollars of the budget will go directly to the development of a commercial human lunar system that will take humans to the moon’s surface.

An allotment of $651 million will be used to support the Orion Spacecraft and the rocket that Boeing is building for the moon mission — called the Space Launch System or SLS. NASA has already spent at least $11.9 billion on the SLS, which was supposed to be ready by December 2017.

In addition to the groundbreaking research, NASA hopes that this new exploration will inspire the next generation of scientists.