Flying to the Moon Will Cost $50 Billion

Cover Images via ZUMA

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Flying to the moon is expensive:

The rocket and spacecraft NASA plans to use to get astronauts to the moon could cost $50 billion, according to a government watchdog report released Tuesday — far more than the space agency had said it would need to meet a White House mandate to return to the lunar surface by 2024….The new IG report blames both NASA’s lax oversight of the program and Boeing’s poor performance for costly delays that would ratchet up the price beyond the $35 billion NASA previously had said it would cost to land astronauts on the moon by 2024.

You’d figure that since we’ve already been to the moon once, our second try should be a lot less expensive. And you’d be right: the Apollo program cost about $150 billion in today’s dollars. If Orion really does come in at $50 billion it will be a pretty good bargain.

I remain unclear on why exactly we want to resume manned missions to the moon—and please don’t say helium-3. Personally, I’d be a lot more interested in building a true orbiting space station infrastructure that’s maybe a hundred times the size of what we have now. But if that’s a dumb idea too, I’m happy to wait until technology has advanced before we spend more money on putting lots of meat sacks into space. I don’t think it would be a long wait in any case.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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