NASA's Artemis mission to put humans back on the Moon may be facing another delay, and according to NASA chief Bill Nelson, he knows just where to lay the blame. He's looking at you, Bezos.
When former Vice President Mike Pence announced in 2019 that the US would place humans on the Moon again in 2024, critics were wildly skeptical (actually, so was NASA). With not even a company to build the landing system in place, such a short time frame seemed unlikely at best, though the rapid progression of private space companies offered a glimmer of hope (and a sharing of budget).
However, that goal of landing humans on the Moon again has survived a change of administration and the 2024 date has stuck, despite issues challenging the timeline ranging from space suits not being ready to avoiding solar storms.
But over the past few months, disaster struck again. Now, the thing most likely to prevent humans from once again walking on the Moon in the next three years is also the most human thing in the world: a lawsuit.
Following NASA’s announcement that SpaceX won the contract to build the Human Landing System for the Artemis mission, rival Blue Origin and its owner Jeff Bezos were less than happy, filing a complaint against NASA for unfairness that ultimately led to the company suing NASA and halting SpaceX from building the lunar lander.
Now, Nelson has admitted he isn't sure when the Artemis mission will actually take place.
At a press conference, in response to the Associated Press asking whether the 2024 goal is still feasible, Nelson replied: "You want to call the federal judge and ask him?"
"The answer is we don't know at this point," he continued. "We're gonna move with all dispatch as soon as we know the legal realm, and then we can better answer your question."
Following the remarks, Business Insider reached out to NASA and confirmed Nelson was referencing the Blue Origin lawsuit.
It is unclear how large the delay will be, and it appears NASA is just as unsure as us. Regardless of the lawsuit, a 2024 landing was always extremely unlikely, having been brought forward by the Trump Administration from NASA's previous goal of 2028, and the technology proposed by SpaceX has not been fully validated for the proposed capability yet.