The Moon is in the focus of space agencies all over the world. NASA is one of them and President Donald Trump wants the agency to return to the Moon at the earliest possible date. Vice President Mike Pence even set a date of 2024 and NASA has decided to leave no stone unturned to meet the deadline. It has zeroed in on several private companies to help design a suitable spacecraft. The objective is to bring humans back to the moon. There should be a provision for including a woman for the first time. The urgency would seem to be increasing as China has plans to position its lander on the far side of the Moon and America does not want to play second fiddle.

Daily Mail UK reports NASA will devote the next six months to select the partners. They will be renowned companies with experience in aerospace engineering. Their task will be to design various elements of NASA’s Artemis mission in 2024. Artemis is Greek goddess of the Moon and daughter of Zeus.

The Artemis mission envisages a Gateway

The first task of the Artemis mission is to build a space station, which will act as the platform for astronauts who will be exploring the moon. This platform will be the Gateway and building it will be one of the initial activities.

The private companies have their work cut out. They will focus on three distinctly different components of the Artemis mission. One of these will be a "transfer element" for relaying astronauts between Gateway and low-lunar orbit. There will also be descent and ascent aspects to consider.

Daily Mail UK adds that the collaboration between NASA and the private sector will mark the beginning of a new era in space exploration.

It will be a break away from tradition for NASA and create a new way of doing business. As an official explains, “To accelerate our return to the Moon, we are challenging our traditional ways of doing business.” The companies involved will have the likes of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, Boeing, Lockheed Martin etcetera.

NASA’s focus is on Moon mission 2024

According to Spacenews, NASA has confirmed the selection of 11 companies to begin studies and initial prototype development of portions of lunar landers. The American space agency is hopeful of meeting its 2024 human landing goal. Funds to the extent of $45.5 million will be available as a part of the public-private partnerships.

The objective is to develop technologies that will help NASA’s exploration plans. The companies selected include established aerospace companies and even emerging startups. It was in 1969 that NASA had sent the first man to the Moon. Subsequently, it diverted its attention to develop the International Space Station in 1998. Then the focus shifted to Mars and two of its robots Curiosity and InSight are at present on the red planet working 24x7. However, the priority has now shifted to the Moon.