The Artemis program – named for Apollo's mythological twin sister – is expected to include nine men and nine women. The program has experienced significant delays and cost overruns. Lori Garver, a former number two official at NASA, contends that those problems might have been avoided had Congress allowed the agency to rely more on commercial launch providers and less on expensive government contracts and political mandates.
Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, launch director for NASA's Exploration Ground Systems Program, says going back to the moon promises more valuable knowledge.
"There is much more to learn. We are still learning from the samples that were returned during the Apollo program," she says. "There is so much science - so much scientific discovery to come from returning to the moon."