March 25, 2024 at 3:43 pm

Former NASA Director Warns The New Mission To The Moon Could Fail Spectacularly Due To Bloated Budgets And Safety Concerns

by Trisha Leigh

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It’s been a long time since humans set foot on the moon. In fact most people who were alive to watch those first, monumental steps aren’t still with us today.

Those of us who only read about it in the history books would love to see such a feat with our own two eyes, but at least one former NASA employees doesn’t seem convinced it’s going to happen.

The employee is former NASA administrator Michael Griffin, who served in the mid-2000s under the Bush administration. He recently told lawmakers that the plans to take humans back to the moon are “too convoluted, expensive, and unrealistic.”

Honestly, given the way NASA is blowing every budget and struggling to stay on schedule, it’s not exactly a surprise.

“I will be direct. In my judgement, the Artemis Program is excessively complex, unrealistically priced, compromises crew safety, poses very high mission risk of completion, and is highly unlikely to be completed in a timely manner even if successful.”

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He also thinks China might well beat us to the punch, which is another reason he says the entire program needs a “restart” – this time without commercial partners.

He does offer a plan of his own in a written testimony, but it doesn’t seem to be detailed enough to make a big difference.

It involves having NASA’s Space Launch System deliver a crew of four inside an Orion capsule to the moon’s surface, and have them stay there for a full week.

This could take place as soon as 2029.

NASA’s plans are more multifaceted and involves a partnership with SpaceX to utilize their Starship craft. It will meet with an Orion spacecraft in the moon’s orbit and set the crew down on the surface.

Griffin’s plan sounds easier, but it depends on design pieces like a lunar lander that hasn’t been conceptualized or built and the necessary and powerful Block II configuration of the Space Launch System is also still in the beginning stages.

Not only that, but his pleas to cut ties with private companies will likely continue to be ignored.

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No one knows what lawmakers will do – they don’t love big price tags and many of them find science in general, and NASA in particular, a waste of time and money.

Personally, I hope they work something out.

We could all use a big, showy, unifying event.

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