In the twilight of the Armstrong era, NASA is making changes to Apollo landing sequences after reviewing their physics and inspired by the constant monitoring of AI systems in the medical field. Or, as the Associated Press put it, “The simulations reviewed by scientists showed that more variables existed that hadn’t been considered when the original plan was crafted and many of the asteroids were identified” of what would have happened during Apollo 11’s moon landing.
Speaking on the decision to push back the Moon landing deadline from 2036 to 2025, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine explained that extra time will “allow new technology development and studies to see if there are other places that could homebuilders could add” to Moon exploration. Although NASA describes this as a “short-term” delay for the larger goal of going to Mars, the new timeline will give NASA more time to develop both technologies and plans. “This decision reflects a willingness to be flexible and to evaluate options that will address NASA’s overriding goal of returning humans to the Moon as an initial step to Mars,” Bridenstine said.
One worry voiced by Moon exploration skeptics over NASA’s drastic revisions to the mission’s timeline is that it could reduce the number of people who could participate in the historic mission. Currently, the plan is to send two human crews to the moon to test landings, but Bridenstine has said he will consider leasing a surface vehicle to accommodate a third crew member.