Washington President Barack Obama is redirecting America’s space program, killing NASA’s $100 billion plans to return astronauts to the moon and using much of that money for new rocket technology research.
The moon mission, which had already cost $9.1 billion, was based on old technology and revisiting old places astronauts had already been, officials said. The previous NASA chief, in selling the old moon plan, had even called it “Apollo on steroids.” The rockets were based on space shuttle boosters.
The $4 billion that NASA spends yearly on human space exploration will now be used for what NASA and White House officials called dramatic changes in rocketry, including in-orbit fueling. They said eventually those new technologies would be used to send astronauts to a nearby asteroid, a brief foray back to the moon, or the Martian moons.