NASA considers delaying Trump's 2024 crewed Moon mission

The Trump administration tasked NASA with an ambitious — and increasingly unlikely — deadline to return humans to the Moon by 2024. With a new administration in place, the space agency will spend the next couple of months reevaluating that deadline to determine whether it will be necessary to delay some of the first Artemis missions, including the crewed launch.

NASA's acting administrator Steve Jurczyk, who recently took over the role from Jim Bridenstine, revealed the news to Politico, stating that it will likely take two or three months for NASA teams to decide whether the 2024 deadline is feasible.

The crewed lunar mission deadline put a huge burden on NASA, with then-administrator Bridenstine having said that the agency would do everything it could to hit the goal. However, the deadline was a few years earlier than the initially planned crewed mission and critics called the effort unattainable.

The crewed mission is expected to cost tens of billions of dollars and requires a huge variety of hardware, including the rocket, to be developed. NASA itself has indicated that it would be unlikely to reach the 2024 goal, having detailed the challenges it faces a few months ago in an inspector general report.

A key aspect of NASA's Artemis mission is the Gateway, a lunar outpost that will have living quarters for astronauts on their way to the Moon and other destinations. The Gateway will also serve as a communications system and facilitate various unmanned lunar missions — and it, too, isn't expected to be ready by 2024.