“Through the Artemis Program, the United States will work with industry and international partners to send astronauts to the surface of the Moon—another man and a woman to the Moon, which is very exciting—conduct new and exciting science, prepare for future missions to Mars, and demonstrate America’s values. To date, only 12 humans have walked on the Moon— that was half a century ago. The Artemis Program, a waypoint to Mars, provides the opportunity to add numbers to that. Lunar exploration has broad and bicameral support in Congress, most recently detailed in the FY2021 omnibus spending bill, and certainly we support this effort and endeavor.”
The statement is notable because it clearly comes after Psaki was briefed by science officials within the Biden administration and reflects their support for the general thrust of the Artemis Program. Details are nonexistent, but that’s to be expected from a new administration on a topic such as space. And there will certainly be changes in timing and approach. But the bottom line is this: Game on for the Artemis Program.
Original story: One of the biggest questions about space policy under the Biden administration is whether the president will embrace the Artemis Moon program set into motion by the Trump White House. This plan called for a return of humans to the Moon and the buildup over time of a lunar base. Former Vice President Mike Pence set an aggressive timeline for the first Moon landing to occur—2024.
It has been clear for many months that this timeline was unattainable, and the final nail in the coffin came in December, when Congress provided just $850 million for a Human Landing System in the fiscal year 2021 budget. This is only one-quarter of what NASA said it needed to have any hope of making the 2024 landing date