Earth rising above the Moon. Photo: NASA

NASA is racing against the clock to get its astronauts' boots back on the Moon within four years.

Why it matters: The Artemis program to the Moon is the Trump administration's flagship space mission, designed to show off U.S. capabilities in space and eventually prove out the technology needed to send humans to Mars.

  • The agency's new head of human spaceflight Doug Loverro told Axios he isn't afraid to change up the plan to meet that ambitious deadline.
  • However, the program's 2024 deadline for a lunar landing is lacking congressional support.

State of play: In an interview with Axios, Loverro said he's not afraid to make hard decisions when it comes to Artemis.

  • "I'm looking at everything in the program with a fresh set of eyes, and I expect that we will have some substantial changes because of that," Loverro said.
  • Loverro is now studying the current architecture for Artemis and he hopes to share conclusions by March.

Details: He said he's also keeping an eye on SpaceX and Boeing's progress toward crewed flights while making sure that Artemis reaches its milestones this year.

  • "I think both Boeing and SpaceX are well on the road to flying, and I have high confidence that we'll be able to fly crew to ... the station this year," Loverro said.
  • On the Artemis side, this year, NASA should begin a major test of its Space Launch System rocket designed to launch astronauts to the Moon.
  • The agency's Orion capsule will also continue its testing in preparation for its first launch with the SLS expected in 2021.

Go deeper: The make-or-break moment for U.S. spaceflight

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 a.m. ET: 30,199,007 — Total deaths: 946,490— Total recoveries: 20,544, 967Map
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 a.m. ET: 6,675,593 — Total deaths: 197,644 — Total recoveries: 2,540,334 — Total tests: 90,710,730Map
  3. Politics: Former Pence aide says she plans to vote for Joe Biden, accusing Trump of costing lives in his coronavirus response.
  4. Health: Pew: 49% of Americans wouldn't get COVID-19 vaccine if available today Pandemic may cause cancer uptick The risks of moving too fast on a vaccine — COVID-19 racial disparities extend to health coverage losses.
  5. Business: Retail sales return to pre-coronavirus trend.
Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Mike Bloomberg's anti-chaos theory

CNN's Anderson Cooper questions Joe Biden last night at a drive-in town hall in Moosic, Pa., outside Scranton. Photo: CNN

Mike Bloomberg's $100 million Florida blitz begins today and will continue "wall to wall" in all 10 TV markets through Election Day, advisers tell me.

Why it matters: Bloomberg thinks that Joe Biden putting away Florida is the most feasible way to head off the national chaos we could have if the outcome of Trump v. Biden remained uncertain long after Election Day.

Biden's hardline Russia reset

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Getty Images photos: Mark Reinstein

When he talks about Russia, Joe Biden has sounded like Ronald Reagan all summer, setting up a potential Day 1 confrontation with Russian President Vladimir Putin if Biden were to win.

Why it matters: Biden has promised a forceful response against Russia for both election interference and alleged bounty payments to target American troops in Afghanistan. But being tougher than President Trump could be the easy part. The risk is overdoing it and making diplomacy impossible.