Astronomers and other scientists hope that humans will return to the Moon after a pause of over half a century. It seems that all arguments are on astronomers’ side, except that a delay will interfere, and it’s caused by the team needing to develop the necessary spacesuits.
NASA’s initial goal is to send a man and a woman on the Moon by 2024 during the Artemis program. But according to SpaceNews.com, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of NASA said in a new report that the spacesuit for the Artemis program won’t be ready for flight until at least April 2025. It could even be subject to additional delays.
The Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) will help astronauts return to the Moon
The Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) is the spacesuit in question and it’s next-generation level.
As the Office of Inspector General (OIG) stated and as quoted by SpaceNews.com:
Given these anticipated delays in spacesuit development, a lunar landing in late 2024 as NASA currently plans is not feasible.
OIG also added that because of factors such as other delays in the development of the Space Launch System, Orion, as well as the Human Landing System, a 2024 landing becomes unfeasible.
But what could cause the delay? You may have already guessed one of the reasons: the COVID-19 pandemic. Other factors are represented by funding shortfalls and technical issues.
We’ve waited half a century for a return to the Moon. Why wouldn’t we resist an extra of a few years? While humanity won’t lay foot on our natural satellite once again in 2024, it’s only a matter of time until it will do it later. The Artemis mission implies a more useful stay on the Moon, as astronomers aim to build a base there.