New Delhi: When was the last time you heard Savage Garden’s to the Moon and Back and Chalo Dildaar Chalo Chaand Ke Paar Chalo and wished you could land on the lunar surface. If all goes well richie rich Space X Founder Elon Musk might have a plan.
SpaceX has been chosen by NASA to build a lander that will return humans to the Moon this decade. It is learnt that the venture will carry the next man and first woman down to the lunar surface.
Head of Human exploration, Kathy Lueders said, “As Nasa takes a step forward for women’s equality, our partners will complete the first crewed demonstration mission to the surface of the Moon in the 21st century and long-term deep space exploration.” SpaceX also envisages taking the first person of colour on the Moon.
The lander will be part of SpaceX’s Starship craftwhich is currently in its testing phase at a site in southern Texas, under the much talked about Artemis programme.
SpaceX was competing against big names like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Alabama-based Dynetics. The total value of the contract awarded to Musk’s company is $2.89bn.
The Artemis programme came into existence under the Trump administration which targeted a return to the lunar surface in 2024. But a shortfall in funding of the landing system has made that goal unattainable.
Elon Musk has been developing the Starship design for years. Resembling the rocketships from the golden age of science fiction. It part of Musk’s long term plans to reach Mars. The new vehicle will be known as the Human Landing System (HLS).
NASA is part of a wide gamut of companies chosen when procuring space transport services, giving it options if one of them fails to deliver.