It was always going to be expensive, however NASA"s an initial cost calculation for the agency"s push to land humans on the moon by 2024 is finally here — and it"s surprisingly cheap.

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During one interview through CNN that aired this day (June 14), NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine offered his very first concrete spending plan estimate for the agency"s current lunar aspirations, a arrangement that has actually been called the Artemis program. That setup includes recruiting advertisement companies and international partners, structure a lunar station, landing people at the moon"s south pole through 2024 and framing the entirety project together practicing because that Mars.

"For the whole program, to acquire a sustainable visibility on the moon, we"re spring at in between $20 and also $30 billion," Bridenstine told CNN. He mentioned that the calculation represented additional money, beyond what the company has currently spent ~ above the SLS rocket and also Orion capsule that intends to usage for the program.

Bridenstine also specified the the estimate represented money on optimal of the agency"s existing budget. Transparent his do the efforts to offer his agency, Congress and also the windy on the Artemis plan, he has actually repeatedly promised that the moon landing push will be separately funded and also won"t traction money from the agency"s other activities.

Last month, chairman Donald trump asked congress to allot one extra $1.6 billion to NASA to fund the Artemis routine in budget year 2020, which begins Oct. 1. However that request, i m sorry Congress has not however evaluated, always included a caveat from Bridenstine specifying the it would certainly be only the beginning of dramatic budget increases required for the program.

Until today, Bridenstine had demurred on offering a total budget estimate for the Artemis program, although he had publicly refuse rumors that NASA would certainly request $8 billion per year for 5 years to fund the moon push. (If the program complete does undoubtedly run come $30 billion and NASA gets its $1.6 billion for 2020, that would leave $7 billion per year because that each the the four remaining years of the program.)

For comparison, NASA"s last moonshot, the Constellation program that never pertained to fruition, was announced v an estimated price of $104 billion in 2005. The Apollo program expense $25 billion — however that remained in 1960s dollars.

More recently, the International an are Station has been estimated to have cost around $100 billion. Even the Hubble an are Telescope, in between its construction, launch and also in-orbit servicing, is estimated to have cost much more than $10 billion over its life come date.

But returning people to the moon in a more permanent means than Apollo is precious it, Bridenstine said.

"Think that it as a short-term investment to have a sustainable regime at the moon whereby we"re ultimately keeping our eye on Mars," Bridenstine said CNN. "How perform we discover to live and work on an additional world, namely the moon, and then walk on to Mars and also do it in a way , when this is complete, the American civilization have a routine they can be really proud of because that the long term?"

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Meghan Bartels
Senior Writer
Meghan is a an elderly writer in ~ and has an ext than five years" suffer as a scientific research journalist based in new York City. She joined in July 2018, v previous writing released in outlets including Newsweek and Audubon. Meghan earned an MA in scientific research journalism from brand-new York University and a BA in standards from Georgetown University, and also in her totally free time she enjoys reading and visiting museums. Follow her on Twitter at