Pence: NASA ready for final preparations for U.S. manned Moon mission

Photo: Alastair Pike/AFP/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence said at Kennedy Space Center Saturday that NASA's Orion capsule is "ready to begin preparations for its historic first flight" to take American astronauts back to the Moon.

What he's saying: "America will return to the Moon within the next 5 years and the next man and the first woman on the Moon will be American astronauts,” Pence said at the event on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, alongside Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin. "We’re going back."

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NASA needs a new spacesuit

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

As NASA pushes back to the Moon, the space agency faces a major engineering challenge: building a new spacesuit in time for the 2024 deadline.

The big picture: Spacesuits are arguably an astronaut's most important tool in space. The suits are designed for a particular mission and tailored to a specific astronaut to allow him or her to work safely in a vacuum.

Go deeperArrowJul 23, 2019 - Science

The road to Titan

Titan orbiting Saturn, taken from Cassini. Photo by: Universal/Getty

President Trump has set his sights on the Moon. Elon Musk's are on Mars. But some of the edgier talk urges an even bolder national aim — a human mission to Titan, Saturn's largest moon.

Driving the news: A mania broke out in the U.S. last week over the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, and returning to the Moon by 2024 and possibly Mars in the 2030s. But if the aim is an awe-inspiring mission leading to the colonization of space, neither may be the best practical answer.

Go deeperArrowJul 23, 2019 - Future

Perseid meteor shower will be drowned out by bright moonlight

A Perseid meteor above California in 2018. Photo: Bob Riha Jr/Contributor/Getty

The month of August is usually lauded as one of the best times of year for skywatching, but this year the Moon will blot out our view of the Perseid meteor shower — typically one of the best.

Details: During the Perseids' peak from Aug. 12 to 13, the bright Moon will drown out all but the brightest meteors even for those in areas relatively free of light pollution.

Go deeperArrowAug 6, 2019 - Science