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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

NASA isn't likely to land astronauts back on the surface of the Moon before 2026, according to a new report.

Why it matters: It suggests NASA may not meet its newly updated deadline of 2025 for the space agency's flagship human spaceflight program designed to get astronauts on the lunar surface again.

  • The Trump administration established the Artemis program, and the Biden administration has continued it as a major part of NASA's portfolio.

What's happening: A new report from NASA's Office of Inspector General found the Trump administration's original deadline for landing on the Moon in 2024 isn't feasible.

  • Instead, the report says the first human Artemis landing will be in 2026 at the earliest due to delayed technology development and budget shortfalls.
  • Some of the main outstanding issues include developing next-generation spacesuits for use on the Moon and a privately built, human-rated lunar lander.
  • "Currently NASA’s most ambitious and costly activity, the Artemis program faces schedule, procurement, technical, and funding risks," the report says.

Details: The Artemis program relies on a number of technologies that have been difficult to develop or have been delayed in one way or another.

  • The Space Launch System rocket — which was expected to make its debut flight this year — won't fly until next year at the earliest.
  • SpaceX won a much-contested contract from NASA to build a human lander for the space agency in April, but protests from other bidders like Blue Origin have delayed the company's work on that vital piece of technology.
  • The program is also expensive, with NASA "projected to spend $93 billion on the Artemis effort up to FY 2025," according to the OIG report.

Get smarter, faster on the modern space era with our free, three-video short course.

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Dec 6, 2021 - Science

Meet NASA's newest class of astronauts

The new astronauts. Photo: NASA

A SpaceX flight surgeon and an elite track cyclist are among the new class of 10 astronaut candidates, NASA announced on Monday.

Why it matters: "These NASA astronauts will plan, train and fly missions to the International Space Station and to the Moon under Artemis, and eventually onto Mars," Vanessa Wyche, the director of NASA's Johnson Space Center, said during an event announcing the new astronaut candidates.

Scoop: Trump-backed Perdue says he wouldn’t have certified Georgia 2020 results

Perdue at a December 2020 campaign event in Columbus, Ga. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Georgia gubernatorial candidate David Perdue wouldn’t have signed the certification of the state’s 2020 election results if he had been governor at the time, the former Senate Republican told Axios.

  • “Not with the information that was available at the time and not with the information that has come out now. They had plenty of time to investigate this. And I wouldn’t have signed it until those things had been investigated and that’s all we were asking for," he said.

Why it matters: There has been no evidence widespread fraud took place in Georgia's elections last year and the November results were counted three times, once by hand.

Beijing Olympics: These countries have announced diplomatic boycotts

Photo: Zhang Qiang/VCG via Getty Images

Several countries, including Canada and Australia, have announced they will join the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to protest human rights abuses committed by China's government.

Driving the news: Leaders have faced pressure from human rights groups and others to boycott the Games, pointing to the ongoing genocide of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China's Xinjiang region and other abuses.