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NASA’s 2024 Moon mission in doubt: US officials state Mars should be top priority

NASA had set its sight on getting humans to the Moon for the first time since 1972 in 2024 as part of the Artemis mission. 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.

However, officials in the US seem to have other ideas, and have presented a new proposed House bill which would push back the Moon landing date by four years to 2028.

By doing this, the bill argues, it would allow the space agency to properly determine where the base should be to allow the easiest access to Mars in the future.

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The bill said the Moon mission should be part of a larger Moon-Mars mission.

The bill has been designated HR 5666 and introduced by Rep. Kendra Horn who is chair of the committee’s space subcommittee in the House Committee on Science, Space, & Technology.

According to the bill, by setting it back four years and incorporating it in a larger mission, it would allow humans to reach the Red Planet’s orbit by 2033.

A snippet from the 103 page document reads: ”The nation’s human space exploration goal should be to send humans to the surface of Mars.

“Reducing the risk and demonstrating the capabilities and operations needed to support a human mission to Mars may require human exploration of the cislunar vicinity and lunar surface.

READ MORE: NASA News: Space agency readies Moon rocket for testing – pics

“It is the further sense of Congress that constancy of purpose and the sustainability of the nation’s human exploration goals and objectives should be an inherent principle of a long-term, deep-space human exploration program that spans several congresses and administrations.”

As part of the proposal, NASA chief Jim Bridenstine has been asked to “develop a list of the remaining human health risk reduction research tasks” for Mars missions that would require testing during ISS missions.

Dr Mary Lynne Dittmar, president & CEO of the US’s Coalition for Deep Space Exploration (CDSE), said: “As we have seen in NASA Authorization Acts for a decade, Congress has been clear that Mars is the goal, so it is no surprise that we are seeing that here.

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