IT may have seemed like just another of his vainglorious boasts, but it now appears possible that President Donald Trump’s pledge to get humans back to the moon may just happen in the course of his second presidency, should he be re-elected next year.

American space agency Nasa has revealed details of Project Artemis, its ambitious scheme to land on people on the moon and build a hopefully permanent settlement there.

By 2024, it will have been 52 years since the two moon walkers from Apollo 17, Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt, were the last astronauts to visit our nearest neighbour in space.


THE designated name of Artemis harks back to the Apollo missions, Artemis being the twin sister of Apollo and the goddess of the moon in Greek mythology. She was also the goddess of the hunt and archery, and was certainly a dynamic goddess. The name is also a fitting choice because Nasa has stated that Project Artemis will see women astronauts take part in the mission and one will become the first female on the moon.


ACCORDING to NASA when it confirmed the name of the project earlier this month, Project Artemis will fulfil the aim enunciated by Vice-President Mike Pence earlier this year – that Nasa should land a man and the first woman on the moon within five years. Nasa has issued grandiose videos saying how they are definitely going to the moon, and then further into space. Put it this way, if Artemis doesn’t fly they are going to look pretty stupid. Over the last few days, leaks of information have confirmed the scale of the project. Anywhere between $6 billion and $8bn and more – on top of Nasa’s £20bn annual, budget – will be spent on 37 launches and the creation of a “lunar base” on the Moon by 2028. There will be a “gateway” station in orbit around the moon, part of an international project to explore Mars and beyond.


IT looks like it. China and India have already expressed an interest in moon colonisation, while Russia and Nasa are already cooperating on the Lunar Gateway and it would not be far-fetched to suggest presidents Putin and Trump could decide to do a joint venture in establishing a lunar base.

Donald Trump approves of the plan. He tweeted: “Under my Administration, we are restoring @NASA to greatness and we are going back to the Moon, then Mars. I am updating my budget to include an additional $1.6 billion so that we can return to Space in a BIG WAY!”


NONE other than the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, who could probably pay for the whole shebang out of his pocket money. The Amazon tycoon is an acknowledged space nut, and has his own Blue Origin space colonisation plans, but it remains to be seen how much he will be involved in Artemis – perhaps they’ll charge him for Amazon to get the delivery space parcel contract.