The moon project is called Artemis, after the Greek goddess of the hunt, wilderness, wild animals and the Moon. NASA wishes to send 2 astronauts including the first woman to walk on the moon. The project's goal is to establish a sustainable presence on the lunar environment.
Jim Bridenstine, NASA Administrator, revealed that the estimated cost of the attempt will be between $20 billion and $30 billion. Therefore, a fund of $4 billion to $6 billion must be added to NASA's budget (currently $20 billion per year) annually. The cost is considered moderate but, according to Mr. Bridenstine, the estimates may rapidly change as space missions are risky and unpredictable.
Until now, NASA has requested an additional fund of $1.6 billion for Artemis project as an advance payment for the forthcoming procedures. Currently, Congress members requested more information about the scheduled plan.
Some people believe that NASA may neglect its other fundamental programs that include robotic missions in space, climate studies and Earth science, to focus on Artemis. However, Mr. Bridenstine stated: "I will tell you my goal — and I've been very clear about this — is to make sure that we're not cannibalizing parts of NASA to fund the Artemis program."
Apollo 17 is the last mission that landed on the moon back in 1972. The mission took place in a strange political environment, during the Cold War at a cost of about $150 billion in current value.
The space agency is not alone in this mission as private companies (e.g. SpaceX) have plans to organize space missions in the future. NASA may benefit from research and development projects that will derive from the private sector. Basically, NASA's intention is to employ private firms to design and test new technologies and to compete for government contracts.
The mission's aim is to prepare the ground for the next space project that includes placing astronauts on Mars for the first time in history.