If NASA is going to fulfill its goal of returning to the Moon by 2024, it’s going to need a lot of money in very short order — and that might be forthcoming. The Trump administration is proposing one of the largest NASA budgets in years as part of its latest budget, earmarking $25 billion for the space agency versus the $19 billion from the first year of the administration and $22 billion for this year. Nearly $3 billion of that would be devoted to creating the vehicles needed for the Artemis program. The budget is also poised to outline Artemis’ complete costs and provide a clearer roadmap for the 2024 mission.
The problem, of course, is that budgets need congressional approval — and there’s no guarantee the budget will go through Congress unaltered. A House subcommittee recently put forward a bill that would push the Moon landing to 2028 and shift the focus to a Mars orbital mission in 2033. And it wouldn’t be surprising to see politicians contend that those billions should go toward addressing lingering problems here on Earth rather than space missions with limited initial utility.
Should the budget go through, however, it would represent a considerably deeper commitment to Artemis than in the past. While some of the pieces are already falling into place, this would clearly make room for much more.