Biden administration backs US Moon shot

Biden administration backs US Moon shot

President Joe Biden has endorsed the effort to return to the Moon that was initiated under his predecessor Donald Trump, BBC reported.

There had been speculation over the direction the new administration might take on the Artemis programme.

The plan would see the next man and the first woman land on the lunar surface in the next few years.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the news at a briefing on Thursday.

“I’m very excited about it now – to tell my daughter all about it,” Ms Psaki said, adding: “Through the Artemis programme, the United States government will work with industry and international partners to send astronauts to the surface of the Moon – another man and a woman to the Moon.”

She explained that the missions would carry out “new and exciting science, prepare for future missions to Mars and demonstrate America’s values.” 

Importantly, there was no mention of the 2024 target for the first crewed landing, a goal set by former Vice President Mike Pence.

There had long been speculation that the administration would not be tied to this date, although nothing has been said either way.

After the Moon return was announced by Mike Pence in 2017, Nasa announced that it was targeting the landing for 2028. When the former vice president re-set that timeline in 2019, it had been seen as a way of “lighting a fire” under the space agency – accelerating an effort the administration thought was moving too slowly.

The 2024 date has been in doubt because of a funding shortfall for the landing element, which will carry astronauts from lunar orbit down to the surface. 

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