Moon landing will bring Mars mission closer: Nasa
Speeding up efforts to put astronauts back on the Moon will enable Nasa to bring a Mars landing closer, the space agency's chief has said.
Jim Bridenstine said US President Donald Trump's desire to put humans back on the Moon by the year 2024 would provide an opportunity to test its technology and capabilities before carrying out a mission to land on Mars by 2033.
"We want to achieve a Mars landing in 2033, but in order to do that we have to accelerate other parts of the programme, the Moon is a big piece of that," the administrator told the congressional Science, Space and Technology Committee.
"By moving up the Moon landing four years... we can move up the Mars landing."
Asked whether he thought the space agency could achieve the new goal, he said it is "in the realms of possibility" and the country can "move out on it and achieve it".
The last manned Moon landing was in 1972.