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Did you know that NASA was once about 4.5% of the total federal budget? WTF!

Houston, we have a crew

NASA has revealed the astronauts set to blast off for the Artemis II assignment — the first crewed moon mission in more than 50 years.

Slated to launch in November 2024, Artemis II is a flyby mission, set to test the spacecraft’s systems, instrumentation and deep-space capabilities in order to pave the way for another set of lunar surface landings. The plan, if all goes well, is to have boots on the moon in 2025, some 56 years since Neil Armstrong took perhaps the most famous step in history. Next stop, maybe Mars.

Space: the expensive frontier

The missions aren’t cheap — the bill for the Artemis campaign is likely to be north of $90bn over its 13-year lifetime — but compared to the spending of the 1960s, NASA’s recent budgets have been relatively restrained. NASA’s spending has hovered just under 0.5% of the Federal total, some way off the astronomical spending of 1966 when the agency accounted for $1 in every $23 spent by the US government.

Much has changed since the days of the space race, and although the relationship between Russia and the US remains fraught, the battle for space supremacy has given way to conflicts closer to home. Indeed, it's China and various private companies that are now the major powers competing in the stars with the US. Beijing has its own goal to land astronauts on the moon before the end of this decade — competition for hotly-contested resources could soon spread to the moon.

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