Credit: JAXA/NHK

A “Community Letter” regarding NASA’s Lunar Discovery and Exploration Program has been sent on August 9 to key leaders on Senate committees.

The letter has been signed by 76 lunar and planetary scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs from 22 states.

The communiqué notes in part:

“As we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 human lunar landing this summer, it was painfully apparent to many Americans that the United States has not built upon the historical successes of the 1960s and early 1970s. Subsequently we have learned much in low-Earth orbit over the past two and a half decades with a continuously tended space station; however, exploration of the Moon continued only with orbital robotic missions until China landed a robotic rover on the Moon’s nearside in 2013.”

On a roll. China’s Yutu-2 rover on the Moon’s farside.

“Earlier this year, China became the first nation to successfully land a rove[r] on the Moon’s farside. It is now evident that other nations consider the Moon as an important destination not only for robotic exploration, but also for human explorers. As scientists and exploration experts in the broad and growing lunar and planetary science community, we write today to voice our strong support for the FY2020 Budget Request for NASA’s Lunar Discovery and Exploration Program and moving humans forward to the Moon sustainably, this time with long-term objectives for developing a sustained human presence.”

The NASA Artemis program will send the first woman and the next man to the Moon by 2024 and develop a sustainable human presence on the Moon by 2028. The program takes its name from the twin sister of Apollo and goddess of the Moon in Greek mythology.
Credit: NASA

“A sustained American human presence on the Moon is vital to our continued leadership in space and our prestige with our international partners. A new sustained human presence will expand on the legacy of Apollo’s history- changing first forays 50 years ago to explore another world, by continuing our quest for knowledge and its promise to benefit all humanity back on Earth.”


To read the full letter, go to:

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