NASA Receives $24B in Spending Bill, But It’s Bad News for Putting Boots on the Moon Again

by Madison Miller

It looks like we’re taking a brief pause when it comes to stomping down on the moon. NASA just doesn’t have the necessary funding in order to get astronauts back on the moon to explore and learn more about space. Is it one step backward for humanity?

At a Glance

  • NASA is getting a little over $24 billion after Congress completed the spending bill
  • This is $760 million less than originally requested by the White House
  • The Artemis program to get on the moon continues to face delays, partially due to funding issues

NASA Gets a Decrease in Funding

According to SpaceNews, Congress just completed its spending bill, which also allocates how much NASA is being given by the government. The space agency is getting a little over $24 billion. This is about $760 million less than the White House requested.

This cut in funding can help explain why NASA hasn’t been able to do another human landing on the moon for half of a century. For reference, back in 2020, NASA had requested $3.4 billion in order to build the Human Landing System. This is a system that was designed to carry astronauts to the surface of the moon from lunar orbit.

Congress only gave a check for $850 million, which was barely enough to get anything really going.

We’ve been waiting for the Artemis program, which is meant to get people back on the moon once again. The date was 2024, but now is looking like the better ballpark is just sometime within this decade. While the mission to the moon seems like a priority, the money just isn’t aligning.

Let’s look back at the golden age of NASA, in which people at home adoringly gazed at heroes on the screen making it to space. The program started in 1961 and then was on the moon in 1966. According to Time, it cost taxpayers $5.93 billion in 1966, which is the highest funding level during the 64-year history of the agency. Keep in mind inflation, of course, which plays a big role in funding. For reference, the Orion spacecraft, which is today’s equivalent of the Apollo orbiter, has a $1.4 billion budget. It’s still in the development process since 2004 and hasn’t even carried a crew yet.

From 1968 to 1974 there were 15 different Apollo capsules that each carried a crew.

Send Your Name to the Moon with NASA

Seeing as visiting the moon seems to be on the back burner, there’s another way we as everyday people can get closer to the moon. While it’s not actually traveling to the moon, sadly, it’s somewhat of a close second. According to CNN, NASA is currently collecting names to get added to a flash drive. This flash drive will then go into space with the Orion spacecraft when it launches later this year.

This is part of the current Artemis I mission with no crew at the moment to send astronauts to the moon. “We’re hoping to keep up this momentum of just a little over a week ago … to gather many more names and generate more excitement from people around the globe that are going to ride along virtually,” NASA spokesperson Kathyrn Hambleton said. They already have millions of names.