Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios
At last month's meeting of the National Space Council, Vice President Mike Pence announced plans for the next stages of U.S. space exploration. "We will return American astronauts to the Moon, not only to leave behind footprints and flags, but to build the foundation we need to send Americans to Mars and beyond," he said.
We asked four experts what we might learn by sending astronauts back to the Moon.
- Debra Needham, planetary scientist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center: The Moon can help reveal our solar system's history
- Clive Neal, lunar scientist and engineering professor at Notre Dame: Lunar resources ready and waiting
- Georgiana Kramer, staff scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute: Lunar swirls hold valuable secrets
- Casey Dreier, director of space policy at the Planetary Society: The moon is one step. Mars is the prize.