Despite plenty of skepticism over whether or not they can pull it off, NASA seems determined to make it back to the Moon by 2024 — or at least that’s what NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine would like everyone to believe. In any case, the agency is moving forward with plans for a manned lunar exploration mission, and some details of one of the key pieces to that puzzle will be revealed in a televised news conference today.
The event, which you’ll be able to watch right here, will feature a number of NASA big shots including the aforementioned Bridenstine. The topic of conversation will be NASA’s Gateway — the Moon-orbiting station that will serve as a jumping-off point for astronauts headed to the lunar surface.
The YouTube window below will host the press conference, which is schedule to begin at 1 p.m. EDT today, Thursday, May 23rd.
NASA offers the following summary of the finer points that will be discussed during the conference:
Administrator Bridenstine will announce the commercial partner selection to develop and build the first segment of NASA’s Gateway outpost – the power and propulsion element (PPE). Gateway will be the lunar orbiting staging point to send astronauts to the Moon’s surface in five years.
NASA has long had plans for a lunar gateway, and it’s a very good idea if we hope to have a human presence on the Moon over the long term. However, the timeframe within which the gateway was to be designed and built was never really discussed.
Recent pushes by the current presidential administration have put NASA in a pinch and, aside from not having nearly enough money to actually accomplish what Trump and his pals are insisting upon, making it all happen within five years is, practically speaking, ridiculous.
NASA will indeed be going back to the Moon, and it will be doing so via a gateway station to make things safer and easier, but whether that actually happens by 2024 is another story. The general feeling among analysts and scientists is that NASA will miss its target date, but we’ll have to wait and see how things play out.