NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine revealed while speaking at a congressional hearing, that revised schedules could see a moon landing in 2024 and astronauts on Mars by 2033. He explained to the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology that it is necessary for humans to grasp the basics of adapting to another world where they must live and work. In his opinion, the moon is the best option to prove the capabilities and technologies required for such activities.

Subsequently, the focus will shift to the colonization of Mars.

CNN reports the original schedule of NASA for a return to the moon was 2028. If it has to be brought forward, the Space Launch System SLS of Boeing must be ready in time. However, there appears to be delays in clearing this rocket that is identified for the moon mission. Its target date was December 2017 and it's not yet ready. If the revised deadline is 2024, then delay in the development of the SLS will affect the schedule.

Man will now replace robots on Mars

Until now, it was the age of robots and Artificial Intelligence on Mars and humans will eventually have to take over.

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It will be a long journey because a round-trip would last at least two years. The Americans landed eight spacecraft on the red planet. Opportunity lasted for 15 years, Curiosity has been there for more than five years and InSight landed there in November 2018. Each of them had to carry out specific tasks. NASA also has plans on the anvil to conduct an aerial survey of Mars by 2021 using a drone helicopter.

CNN adds that in December 2017, President Donald Trump signed a directive for NASA to expand its scope of activities.

The president wanted humans to revisit the moon with the objective of preparing for "long-term exploration and use" along with interplanetary missions. Vice President Mike Pence recently announced a deadline and said the White House wants the space agency to put astronauts on the moon by 2024. The year is significant because it would be Trump's last year in office if he is re-elected.

Development of a suitable rocket poses a challenge

According to Business Insider, Vice President Mike Pence made it clear that if NASA is unable to return American astronauts to the moon by 2024, the agency will pay the price.

The mission will not change. Boeing has to develop the Space Launch System (SLS) but its progress is slow and in view of the tight schedule, NASA might have to go in for alternative commercial rockets like Delta IV heavy rockets or SpaceX's Falcon Heavy. In view of changes in schedule, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said the financial aspects would need review and NASA's preparing a request for a grant of additional funding to make the 2024 moon landing a reality.

He went on to add, “The Moon is the proving ground. We can move up the Mars landing by moving up the Moon landing."

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