New Moon Mission Could Determine NASA's Future

No one has been to the moon in over 50 years. It’s unclear if a 2022 NASA is capable of a 1969 accomplishment, landing on the moon.

The Artemis program: NASA’s new moon rocket will launch next week and will demonstrate if the government organization has the technology needed to land on the moon again. The mission’s task is to reach the moon’s orbit and return to earth. If all goes well, NASA aims for a moon landing by 2025 to establish a long-term presence on the moon. The spacecraft won’t carry a crew on this initial test mission.

NASA’s reputation is on the line: There’s increasing competition in the field from Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin. The pressure is on for NASA to prove itself once again, and the agency will take a credibility hit if its already over-budget and massively delayed project fails.

Big picture: If the project succeeds, it could start a new generation of space exploration and be a source of pride for America. If it fails, it will give Americans just one more reason to turn to private companies for innovation rather than the federal government.