NASA flying blind? Congress members grill space agency for no moon mission plan yet

Buzz Aldrin
Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin and the U.S. flag on the moon

The Donald Trump administration had asked NASA, the United States space agency to formulate a lunar mission plan last March. Even though the lunar mission plan was supposed to be ready by mid-April, NASA has not submitted the plan until now, and it has made Congress members to grill the space agency.

As per the latest reports, NASA officials have revealed that it will take a couple of more weeks to formulate the exact action plan which should be embraced during the upcoming lunar mission.

"The lack of planning evident so far is no way to run a human exploration program. The 2024 missive left NASA in a tizzy scrambling to develop a plan and hastening to pull together a budget amendment that still has not been delivered to Congress," said US Rep. Kendra Horn, an Oklahoma Democrat, during the hearing of a subcommittee of the US House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

As per Horn, even though the country plans to take humans to the moon in the next five years, no plans regarding the budget or modus operandi have been formulated so far.

"At present, we have a White House directive to land humans on the Moon in 5 years, but no plan or no budget details on how to do so, and no integrated Human Exploration Roadmap laying out how we can best achieve the horizon goal—Mars. In essence, we're flying blind," added Horn.

Even though criticism is being poured on the space agency, NASA's answer still remains the same. Bill Gerstenmaier, the agency's associate administrator for human exploration and operations reveals that the proposal is not ready as of now, and it will not take several weeks to complete that.

It should be noted that uncertainty surrounding the upcoming lunar mission will not end even after the submission of the plan. The budget NASA put forwards for the moon mission should be approved by the Congress, and the recent criticisms clearly indicate that members of the Congress are already frustrated by the delay.

A few days back, Jim Bridenstine, the NASA administrator had revealed that the upcoming lunar mission, aimed to take humans to the moon could not be carried by the United States alone. Bridenstine made this crucial statement recently while talking at the space symposium on April 09.

"Putting humans on the moon in 2024 is not an America-alone effort. We need all of our international partners. In fact, none of us can do what we want to achieve alone," said Bridenstine during the speech.

Related topics : Nasa