NASA's new rocket won't be ready for moon shot next year

NASA spotted hopping liquid water on Moon’s surface

NASA to open untouched moon samples for 1st time since Apollo missions (VIDEO)

The 43-year-old also told radio talk show Science Friday that the next astronaut to return to the moon since the 1972 landing should be female.

The budget - $500m (£380m) less than a year ago - will "continue building the key components of the exploration campaign that will send astronauts to the moon and beyond", NASA said. What is especially cool about this sample is that the actual stratigraphy from below the surface is still intact, which could hold valuable information about how the moon formed, as well as the time and duration of certain geological phases.

"These are great days", he said.

However, the journey to the Moon could happen sooner than the one on Mars, as the Trump administration wants the space agency to focus on putting people on the Moon first.

John Keller, LRO deputy project scientist from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland said, "This result is an important step in advancing the water story on the Moon and is a result of years of accumulated data from the LRO mission".

Instead of the space agency's own SLS rocket, Bridenstine said NASA "could use two heavy-lift rockets" to send the two spacecrafts into orbit.

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Gold hit almost a two-week high as tepid US economic data reinforced views the Fed would be patient on monetary policy. Dow Jones closed up by 0.58 percent, S&P 500 ended up 0.69 percent, Nasdaq finished the day up by 0.69 percent.

"This is a unique and exciting opportunity to use state-of-the-art techniques on lunar samples that have been preserved for nearly 50 years and to study questions that scientists at the time may have asked but didn't have the ability to answer", stated Elsila in a press release. Bridenstine said NASA is "absolutely" committed to making that happen.

Anne McClain will make history as part of the first all-female spacewalk on the International Space Station at the end of March. According to SpaceX's website, Falcon Heavy pricing starts at $90 million.

The "Space Gap" has been huge since NASA was first founded in 1958 and had all-male staff - although women later took on roles of being "human computers", which was depicted in the film Hidden Figures. "At $21 billion, this budget represents a almost 6 percent increase over last year's request and comes at a time of constrained resources across the federal government". The most recent class of flight directors was also 50% women, NASA said.

The agency is now exploring options for meeting that deadline using "commercial capabilities", Bridenstine said.

Additional delays with a Boeing rocket has NASA considering commercial help to mitigate further schedule slips in launching the agency's future deep-space exploration craft.

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