The Bills: What Does NASA's Leadership Shakeup Mean For Moon Plans?

US astronaut Buzz Aldrin climbs down the ladder from the lunar module

"(Gerstenmaier's) been at NASA for 42 years and we love him, and in fact, we have an opportunity now to land on the Moon in the year 2024 because of the hard work that he has put into the program", Bridenstine told Fox News in an interview published Thursday.

"Nasa has been given a bold challenge to put the first woman and the next man on the moon by 2024, with a focus on the ultimate goal of sending humans to Mars", said agency chief Jim Bridenstine.

"In an effort to meet this challenge, I have chose to make leadership changes to the Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) Mission Directorate".

He said that Ken Bowersox, a former astronaut, who had served as the deputy associate administrator for the human exploration office would take over in an acting capacity. The mission's objective quickly shifted from exploration to survival. The revised moon program is known as Artemis.

Bridenstine said the move is meant to help meet the challenge of landing humans on the moon by 2024, a deadline set by the Trump administration. More features such as moon- and space-related tours and quizzes on Google Earth have also been lined up from July 15.

Current plans call for crews to dock with a mini space station - Gateway - in lunar orbit before descending to the surface in a commercially developed lander.

The hardware that NASA needs is either delayed, way over budget or doesn't yet exist.

UM professors Fred Adams will present his research findings in theoretical cosmology and astrophysics along with UM aerospace engineering associate professor James Cutler, who is the director of the MI eXploration Lab.

Wednesday's shakeups are the latest as NASA aims to transform itself into "a leaner, more accountable and more agile organization", as Pence said in the March speech to the National Space Council. NASA has not yet announced a decision on the green run test.

The White House has shown frustration with the pace of Nasa's efforts, especially its Space Launch System, which is years behind schedule and plagued with cost overruns.

"We, as a nation, are thankful for his service in advancing America's priorities and expanding the limits of science, technology and exploration", Bridenstine wrote.

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