NASA’s planned 2024 moon mission will be called Artemis, after a Greek goddess of the moon and twin sister of Apollo. US president Donald Trump has announced an additional $1.6 billion in funding to kickstart the mission.
The budget, which is for the financial year 2020, includes $1 billion for the development of a commercial lunar lander, which NASA would purchase from a private company. Blue Origin’s Blue Moon lander, unveiled on 9 May, could be one option.
Most of the remaining money will go towards NASA’s SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft, which are intended to carry crew members to the moon-orbiting Lunar Gateway from which the lander will bring them to the surface. Officials say this will include the first woman on the moon.
The Gateway itself has had its budget cut back by about $300 million, some of which will go towards exploring the south pole of the moon with robots before landing humans there.
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