NASA warns Moon base plans might slip by a year

Jon Fingas
Associate Editor
NASA

NASA's dreams of returning to the Moon with a permanent presence might have been overly ambitious. The agency's human exploration lead, Doug Loverro, has warned that plans for the lunar Gateway could be set back by a year or more as NASA reworks its design and intended uses. Earlier in the week, he also told an advisory committee that costs and technical challenges would force NASA to revise and streamline its objectives for the Moon.

Loverro stressed that NASA wasn't ditching the Gateway. Rather, he saw the administration pursuing a slower spending increase that would help attract foreign partners.

The statements (along with delays in Boeing's Space Launch System) suggest that NASA's schedule for the Artemis program might be too aggressive. Critics have argued that the White House's timetable, including a Moon landing by 2024 and a lunar base by 2028, is an arbitrary target set more for political gain than advancing space exploration. NASA originally planned the landing for 2028, but Wall Street Journal sources claim the Trump administration chose the 2024 timing to dovetail with the end of a theoretical second presidential term. If delays like this prove to be enough a problem, NASA may not have much choice but to rethink its timing.