United States

Coronavirus pandemic may delay NASA’s return to the moon

NASA’s plan to return to the moon in 2024 via its Artemis program could be in jeopardy due to the coronavirus pandemic upending the globe. On March 19, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced the agency’s Michoud Assembly Facility and Stennis Space Center in New Orleans and Mississippi, respectively, would move to Stage 4, effective March 20, which closes all facilities and forces mandatory telework. Work on the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion, the hardware system that will be used to return astronauts to the lunar surface, is suspended. “The NASA and contractors teams will complete an orderly shutdown that puts all hardware in a safe condition until work can resume,” Bridenstine said in the release on NASA’s w ...