NASA chief says Elon Musk won't be smoking joints publicly again

NASA chief says Elon Musk won't be smoking joints publicly again

NASA has big plans to go back to the moon, and it wants private companies to help them get there.

Next year, SpaceX is preparing for the first flight of its Dragon crew capsule, with two astronauts on board, launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket.

Lockheed Martin, which built the InSight lander that successfully touched down on Mars Monday, said it plans to build a robotic moon lander based on a similar design that could carry a variety of payloads. As part of that directive, companies can bid on contracts to develop services to deliver new lunar payloads, through NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services.

"We want to establish and open architecture capability-of data, communications, avionics, docking-to go from the Earth to the moon over and over again so any individual who can attract the capital, or company, could access it", said Bridenstine.

Earlier this year, NASA shocked scientists by canceling the Resource Prospector mission, the only American lunar rover now in development. The Google Lunar X Prize, started in 2007, announced a $20 million award for the first privately funded spacecraft to land on the moon.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine himself ordered the upcoming safety review of SpaceX and Boeing, which was reportedly prompted by Elon Musk's behavior on comedian Joe Rogan's podcast this past September, according to The Atlantic. "This is like a venture capital kind of effort where at the end of the day, the risk is high but the return is also very high for a low investment".

NASA chief says Elon Musk won't be smoking joints publicly again

They include some longtime players in the aerospace industry, like Lockheed Martin, but are mostly newer names with start-up cultures, like Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic and Masten Space Systems in Mojave, California.

NASA announced Thursday that it would be partnering with private companies to send probes and eventually humans to the moon.

"Navigating humans to the moon and back almost 50 years ago was an incredibly proud moment for the engineers and scientists at Draper", CEO Kaigham Gabriel said.

Talking about Musk's past behaviour, Bridenstine said he had spoken with Musk.

NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) initiated the request for proposals leading to these selections as the first step in achieving a variety of science and technology objectives that could be addressed by regularly sending instruments, experiments and other small payloads to the Moon. SpaceX has been a hugely valuable partner for NASA, but launching unmanned cargo ships into space is one thing.

Earlier this year, NASA cancelled its only robotic vehicle under development to explore the surface of the Moon, known as the Resource Prospector (RP) mission.

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