GREENBELT, Md. (WDVM) — Before the Apollo 11 mission 50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy set a goal to put people on the moon by the 1970s. This time, NASA set its own goal to go back by 2024.
“Goddard Space Flight Center has been preparing for humans on the moon for well over a decade now, primarily through our Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission that we’ve operated for over a decade at the moon. That data from LRO is telling us where we want to send astronauts in 2024 and what are we going to have them do,” said Noah Petro, a research and project scientist with NASA.
The LRO is operated and controlled at Goddard in Greenbelt, Maryland.
NASA has plans for what astronauts will do once they get to the moon.
“Whether it’s setting up experiments, collecting samples, building infrastructure, eventually we want to be able to have a system on the moon that makes a sustainable presence so we can go onto Mars,” said Petro.
NASA and Goddard communications networks have seen many updates since 1969.
“Two weeks ago we finished testing that allowed us to double the Space Station data rate. If you think of the Encyclopedia Britannica, it’s the equivalent of sending that down twice in one second. Goddard handles 98 percent of all of NASA’s communications,” said Cathy Barclay, a space communications expert with NASA.
She says NASA is working hard to make sure you can see the moon landing when it happens again.
“We’re working on a much higher quality, high definition video capability that should look just like your regular TV signal by the time you receive it,” said Barclay.
“Part of what Goddard employees love is those clear crisp goals, that they know what they’re working towards. People give a lot of themselves,” said Barclay.
“It’s the old adage, you love what you do and you never work a day in your life. They’re motivated to put humans back on the moon in 2024.”