NASA's Jim Bridenstine says America's going to Moon forever

NASA's Jim Bridenstine believes that the next time the United States lands on the Moon, it will be for good.
By Tyler MacDonald | Jul 28, 2018
Although some have their doubts about NASA's ambitious space plans, including going to Mars by the 2030s and heading back to the moon, a recent Bloomberg interview withNASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine revealed his confidence in the agency's future missions.

"The vision is: NASA does things that nobody else can or will do," he said. "So if there's a robust commercial space industry in low Earth orbit, then NASA doesn't need to be there. We want to be one of many customers in the mature economic domain we're hoping low Earth orbit will become in a matter of years."

"What NASA can do is go further," he continued. "So we use our resources to go to the moon, and we build an architecture around the moon that includes landers that can get us to the surface, initially with robots and rovers and eventually with humans."

"President Trump's [first]Space Policy Directivesays he wants our return to the moon to be sustainable," he added. "In other words, it's going to be there forever. We're not going to leave the moon as we did in 1972. We're going this time to stay. Then the next step is taking the architecture we're building around the moon and applying it to Mars. Everything feeds forward, and this is our objective: to get to Mars. It's a lofty ambition, but it's eminently doable."

When questioned about exoplanet discoverieswhich have now reached the thousandsand the odds of finding life,Bridenstine is optimistic.

"Exoplanets have changed the way we think about our own planet," he said. "It's changed the way we think about our place in the universe and whether or not we are alone, and of course NASA wants to be the first to discover life on another planet."

"It's why our missions to Mars are so important," he continued. "It's why our mission to Europa [the Europa Clipper, planned for as early as 2022] is so important. The United States of America does not want to be the second country to find life on another planet. We want to be the first.

Whether the United States will be able to accomplish this lofty goal remains to be seen.

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