The Atlantic

The Fraught Effort to Return to the Moon

NASA wants to put people back on the lunar surface in 2024, but it doesn’t have the budget.
Source: NASA

Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series reflecting on the Apollo 11 mission, 50 years later.

The 50th anniversary of the moon landing is almost here, and NASA has gone all-out for the occasion.

The agency has been celebrating the memory of Apollo 11 for months. It has a steady stream of archival photos and footage of the astronauts suiting up, blasting off, and posing on the lunar surface with the American flag, a pop of color against an expanse of gray. It the room at the Johnson Space Center where Mission Control monitored the journey so that now it looks the way it did in 1969, down to the coffee cups, clipboards, and packs of cigarettes. NASA headquarters even asked every communications officer at the agency to be “mindful of posting evergreen materials in human history. It’s been moon time, all the time.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic9 min readPolitics
Don’t Use These Free Speech Arguments Ever Again
Most speech, hateful or not, is protected by the Constitution. To pretend otherwise is foolhardy.
The Atlantic3 min read
Ready or Not Is a Clever Horror Comedy About Entitled Rich People
The new film retells a classic story of bored aristocrats hunting humans—with a subversive twist.
The Atlantic3 min readPolitics
Emmanuel Macron Expounds as the World Burns
It was a perfect late-summer evening when President Emmanuel Macron—tanned and super-energized in a dark-blue suit and crisp white shirt—held forth before the Elysée press corps on matters of international import. Posh Paris was largely out of town.