The xEMU spacesuit that will be worn on the Moon. Image Credit: NASA
A new report has cast serious doubt on the feasibility of NASA's plan to land humans on the Moon in 2024.
Back in 2019, Vice President Mike Pence announced that US astronauts would walk on the lunar surface within a mere 5 years through NASA's ongoing Artemis program.
"Since the end of Apollo 11, we've forged incredible breakthroughs in our technology that have allowed us to go further, more safely in space than ever before," he said.
"We have the technology to go the moon and renew American leadership in human space exploration."
"Just as the United States was the first nation to reach the moon in the 20th century, so too will we be the first nation to return astronauts to the Moon in the 21st century."
While great progress has been made since then, it is looking increasingly unlikely that the goal of placing astronauts on the lunar surface by 2024 will actually happen.
The most recent nail in the coffin comes courtesy of an audit by NASA's Office of Inspector General which reported that the required spacesuits will not be ready in time.
Despite a budget of over $1 billion, the first suits won't be available until "2025 at the earliest."
"Given these anticipated delays in spacesuit development, a lunar landing in late 2024 as NASA currently plans is not feasible," the report reads.
Unveiled in 2019, the new next-generation spacesuit - known as xEMU - has been designed specifically for use with the Artemis program.
Without it, the program could find itself grinding to a halt.
Source: The Verge | Comments (6)