President Donald Trump has directed NASA to land American astronauts on the Moon’s South Pole within the next five years. NASA will meet this challenge. We will move forward to the Moon, this time to stay. What we learn from living on the Moon we will then use to send American’s to Mars. The Moon lights the way to Mars.
To help accomplish this bold vision for exploration, NASA will need to engage commercial partners from all aspects of our new, high-tech economy. Building on our successes in low-Earth orbit, we are combining the expertise of the NASA workforce with our commercial and international partners to develop the exploration capabilities needed for our sustainable presence on the Moon, starting in 2024.
NASA will take full advantage of the extraordinary intellectual capital of America’s technology workforce – everyone from open source coders and systems engineers making better technologies for machine operations, to the cybersecurity experts who will ensure systems that humans depend upon will be safe and secure during our exploration of the cosmos.
NASA technologies advance capabilities for space exploration, promote America’s global leadership in innovation and transform the world around us. But these technologies are only as successful as the people behind them, the people who have the creativity and vision to picture what cyber-technologies will be needed as humans venture out and become a multi-planet species.
The future of artificial intelligence and automation, combined with digital transformation and how humans live and work with intelligent systems and machines, will enable America’s lunar outpost and our eventual habitation of Mars. Indeed, our sustained presence on the Moon will require robust machines and systems that can assure that we arrive, survive, thrive and return safely to our home planet.
There’s more, however, to the new space economy than NASA’s lunar plans.