“Our wish is to fly this year,” NASA official Thomas Zurbuchen said at the surprise announcement of a new Moon mission overnight.
“We want to incentivize speed … We want to start taking shots on goal.”
While the media presentation focused on the need for speed, it didn’t divulge the why.
“We do not expect every launch and landing to be successful.”
Like similar announcements by predecessor presidents about spectacular — but speculative — missions to Mars, the follow-through for a new Moon shot has so far been largely lacking.
Meanwhile, China late last year placed a probe and lander in one of the Moon’s most significant features — the unexplored South Pole-Aitken basin.