With the 2020 US election officially called for Biden on November 7, NASA’s ambitious goal of returning humans to the Moon by 2024 is unlikely to be a priority in the new administration.
In July, a proposed democratic platform pledged to continue to support NASA’s return to the Moon. However, it was light on details and made no mention of the 2024 goal touted by the Trump administration.
Now that Biden has secured the presidency and does not need to worry about the political implications of a drastic shift in policy, it appears that a crewed mission to the Moon will not be a priority.
During a speech at SpaceVision 2020, Lori Garver, who served as Obama’s NASA deputy administrator and is a favourite to take over from current NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, expressed her belief that NASA would focus on climate science in the new administration.
“Managing the Earth’s ability to sustain human life and biodiversity will likely, in my view, dominate a civil space agenda for a Biden-Harris administration,” said Garver.
In addition to hinting at a likely shift in focus for the agency, Garver took aim at the Trump administration’s 2024 goal. “I don’t know anyone who thinks we’re going to get there by 2024.”
The ambitious deadline has been a point of contention from many with knowledge of NASA’s progress in developing key components of the Artemis program including the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft. Both projects are years behind schedule and are struggling with ballooning budgets that are becoming increasingly difficult to justify.