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US aims to send astronauts back to Moon in next five years
Mike Pence, the vice president of the US has announced their goals of sending American astronauts back to the Moon within five years "by any means necessary." Pence also borrowed from the vocabulary of the Cold War era in declaring, "We're in a space race today, just as we were in the 1960s."
The ambitious goal would cost tens of billions of dollars it seems NASA will be able to rise back after a struggle with the help of private partners to carry out manned missions from the US soil for the first time since the shuttle program ended in 2011.
The space agency previously aimed to return to the lunar surface by the year 2028, after first putting a "Gateway" station in orbit around the Earth's natural satellite by 2024. As for the US Appollo program carried six manned missions to the Moon from 1969 to 1972.
Until now, only the other two nations have managed to conduct landings on the Moon - the former Soviet Union and China - but none of them were manned missions.
According to NASA's chief administrator Jim Bridenstine, the first unmanned demonstrations for the lunar surface will take place in 2024 and 2026. "We're not going to leave flags and footprints and then come home, to not go back for another 50 years."
Besides, the space agency also has plans to go to the Red Planet. According to NASA, "the Mars Helicopter, a small, autonomous rotorcraft, will travel with the agency's Mars 2020 rover mission, currently scheduled to launch in July 2020, demonstrate the viability and potential of heavier-than-air vehicles on the Red Planet."