One of NASA's greatest accomplishments is landing 12 people on the moon.

After collecting rocks, taking photos, performing experiments, and planting flags, astronauts came home. During the Apollo program, there was no permanent human presence on the moon.

There are a lot of reasons for people to return to Earth after the Apollo 17 landing.

The first women to ever touch the lunar surface will be part of NASA's Artemis program, which will include US astronauts on the moon.

Jim Bridenstine, who ran the agency during the Trump administration, said it's not science or technology hurdles that are holding the US back.

Bridenstine said in a phone call that if it wasn't for the political risk, they would be on the moon. We would probably be on the red planet.

It's been 50 years since astronauts returned to the moon.

The political risks prevented it from happening. It takes too long and costs too much.

A lunar space station has been advocated for by researchers and entrepreneurs for a long time.

The next logical step is a human research station on the moon. Three days is a long time. Chris Hadfield, a former astronauts, told Business Insider that they could afford to get it wrong and not kill everyone. We have a lot of things we have to invent and test in order to learn.

A lunar base could become a fuel depot for deep-space missions, make it easier to live on Mars, and solve longstanding scientific mysteries about the moon's creation. It could lead to a thriving off-world economy.

The main obstacles to making new crewed moon missions a reality are banal and depressing according to astronauts and other experts.

It's really expensive to get to the moon — but not that expensive

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The cost is a tried and true hurdle for any spaceflight program.

The Biden administration wants Congress to increase NASA's budget to nearly $26 billion in the next three years.

The total gets split among all the agency's divisions and ambitious projects, including the James Webb Space Telescope, the giant rocket project called Space Launch System, and missions to the sun. The US military is on track for a budget of $858 billion in the next five years.

NASA's budget is not as large as it was in the past.

NASA's portion of the federal budget peaked in 1965, according to Walter Cunningham. For the last 40 years it has been below 1%, and for the last 15 years it has been driving towards 0.4% of the federal budget.

The cost of returning to the moon was estimated by NASA in 2005. In today's dollars, the Apollo program cost about $150 billion.

Cunningham said that Manned exploration is the most expensive space venture and that it is hard to get political support for it.

He said that unless Congress decided to put more money in it, this was just talk.

Cunningham said that NASA's budget is too low to do all the things they have talked about.

The problem with presidents

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Former US President Donald Trump wanted to get astronauts back on the moon in 2024.
Reuters/Carlos Barria

It's possible that President Biden will be in office when NASA lands astronauts on to the moon.

Political whiplash is a major problem.

Wouldn't you believe what a president said about two administrations in the future? Hadfield made a statement. That's just talking.

A two-term president doesn't compare to the process of designing, engineering, and testing a spaceship that can get people to another world. The previous leader's space- exploration priorities are often scrapped by incoming presidents.

"I would like the next president to support a budget that allows us to accomplish the mission that we are asked to perform, whatever that mission may be," Scott Kelly, anastrologer who spent a year in space, wrote in a "Ask Me Anything" thread in January 2016 before

Staying the course isn't often cared for by presidents and Congress.

In 2004, the Bush administration asked NASA to come up with a way to replace the space shuttle, which was set to retire. The program to land astronauts on the moon was created by the agency. The human-spaceflight program cost NASA $9 billion over the course of five years.

The President pushed to scrap the program after the Government Accountability Office released a report about NASA's inability to estimate the cost.

The SLS was not scrapped by Trump. The goal of launching astronauts to an asteroid was changed by him. The president wanted to see astronauts on the moon.

Changes to NASA's priorities have resulted in a loss of about $20 billion and years of wasted time.

Biden has kept Space Force intact and hasn't toyed with Trump's priorities for NASA.

The will to return to the moon must come from Capitol Hill, according to Buzz Aldrin.

American leadership is inspiring the world by doing what no other nation can. We showed that for a short time. I don't think we have done it yet. I think it starts with a bipartisan congressional and administration commitment.

The will of the American people is what drives the government's commitment to return to the moon. Public interest in lunar exploration has been low.

At the peak of the Apollo program, only half of Americans thought the program was worth the cost. The US approval of Apollo was less than 50% most of the time.

Should NASA return to the moon Samantha Lee/Business Insider

Most Americans think NASA should focus on returning to the moon at the moment. According to an INSIDER poll in December of last year, more than half of the country thinks returning to the moon is an important goal for NASA. Some people want the US to land on the lunar surface.

A majority of people think it should be a NASA priority to explore crewed Mars. The majority of people think that scanning the skies is important.

The challenges beyond politics

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Many space enthusiasts have long hoped to build a base on the moon, but the lunar surface's harsh environment wouldn't be an ideal place for humans to thrive.

There are other reasons people haven't returned to the moon. Humans have been dying on the moon for 4.5 billion years.

It has craters and boulders that threaten safe landings. The US government spent billions of dollars to develop, launch, and deliver satellites to the moon in the years leading up to the first moon landing.

Regolith, also called moon dust, is caused by meteorite impacts.

The moon is covered in a fine, talc-like top layer of lunar dust, which is charged through interaction with the solar wind.

The Apollo missions had a lot of problems with dust, as was previously reported by Business Insider, according to one of the astronauts.

If we're going to build permanent habitats, we have to figure out how to handle that.

There is a problem with the sun. The moon is exposed to the sun's harsh rays for 14 days at a time. The moon's surface is one of the most cold places in the universe because of the next 14 days of darkness.

NASA wants to develop a power system that can provide electricity to astronauts on the moon and other planets.

The moon is not a more pleasant place to live. Since it is so close to the Earth, there is not a better place to learn how to live outside.

NASA has designed space suits and rovers that are dust and sun resistant, but it's not certain if they are ready to go.

A generation of billionaire 'space nuts' may get there

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An illustration of SpaceX's Starship vehicle on the surface of the moon, with Earth in the distance.
Elon Musk/SpaceX via Twitter

The graying workforce is an issue for astronauts. According to a recent poll, more American kids dream of becoming stars on the video sharing website, rather than astronauts.

"You have to realize that young people are essential to this kind of effort," Apollo 17 astronauts Harrison Schmitt said. The average age of the people in Mission Control for Apollo 13 was 26 years old.

The average age of a person at NASA's Johnson Space Center is close to 60 years old, according to Schweickart.

It's not where innovation and excitement come from. Excitement comes from the fact that teenagers and young adults are running programs. The whole company jumps up and down when Musk lands a rocket booster.

A new, private suite of moon- capable rockets is being developed by Musk and others.

If it wasn't for NASA and Boeing, the innovation that's been going on over the last 10 years in spaceflight wouldn't have happened, according to the man. There wasn't any reason to change the way we do it.

The work of Musk's rocket company, as well as that of Bezos' Blue Origin, is what the innovation was referred to as.

If we are going to go farther than the moon, we need new transportation. We're in theuggy days of spaceflight right now.

Many astronauts want to go back to the moon. Blue Origin's New Glenn rocket system will be used to build the first moon base, according to Bezos.

He said in April of last year that all heavy industry would be moved off of Earth.

The way for affordable, regular lunar visits has been discussed by Musk. There is a chance that the moon will be visited before Blue Origin.

"My dream would be for the moon to become a part of the economic sphere of the Earth, just like the low- and high-Earth circles," he said. It's part of our daily economy to have space out as far asgeostationary. Someday I think the moon will be something to work for.

We'll get to the moon and onto Mars, that's what the astronauts think. It's just a question of when.

"I guess eventually things will come to pass where they will go back to the moon and eventually go to Mars, but I don't think I'll live to see it," he said. Hopefully they will succeed.

The story was published in July of last year The update has been done.

There was an incorrect number of moonwalkers in the previous version. Twelve people were on the moon.