NASA Moon mission in doubt? Space agency faces challenge due to lack of budget increase

The House appropriations bill has revealed there will not be an increase of NASA’s 2020 annual budget of $22.63 billion (£17.8bn) next year, putting a serious dent in its space fairing venture. NASA had hoped to land humans on the Moon by 2024, but bosses at the space administration revealed they would need a serious increase in budget.

Earlier this year, the NASA human spaceflight chief Doug Loverro, who has since stepped down, said the space agency would need at least an additional $35bn (£27.6bn) in funding over the next four years, on top of what they were already designated.

According to NASA, the space agency has been designated $682 million (£539 million) for its human landing system (HLS) mission, something which NASA officials described as a “first step” in the funding, hoping it will receive more in the future.

Without the increase, NASA’s hopes of returning to the Moon face an uncertain future, despite the Trump administration constantly hyping up the Artemis mission.

To put NASA’s perceived lack of budget into perspective, New York City received four times as much as NASA in the latest bill – and New York plans to stay on Earth.

NASA chief Jim Bridenstine gave a cold reply to the budget announcement, inferring that the space agency will need a lot more.

In a brief statement, Mr Bridenstine said: “I want to thank the House Commerce-Justice-Science subcommittee for the bipartisan support they have shown for NASA’s Artemis program.

“The $682 million (£539 million) in funding is an important first step in this year’s appropriations process.

“We still have more to do and I look forward to working with the Senate to ensure America has the resources to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon in 2024.”

One person responded to Mr Bridenstine on Twitter, saying: “This is a pretty elaborate way of stating that this is not enough money to do HLS.”

The first astronauts to make it to the lunar surface would be tasked with helping to create a Moon colony and laboratory, which would act as a stepping point to Mars.

The base would be used as a checkpoint between Earth and Mars while also allowing astronauts to study the Moon in close detail.

NASA had been hoping to get the first ever humans on Mars in the 2030s, but this would be nigh on impossible if they were not able to complete its Moon mission.

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