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Elon Musk claims that SpaceX can land humans on the moon “probably sooner” than 2024

Hitting back at Nasa’s tardiness, Elon Musk reckons that his company is capable of mounting a manned mission to the moon before 2024.

His name might be synonymous with a mission to Mars, but now it seems that Elon Musk may have set his sights on a target a little closer to home: the moon. Following news that Nasa will not be able to send a manned craft to the moon on schedule (i.e. before the end of 2024), Musk has appeared on hand to boast that his company SpaceX would have been on track not just achieve this feat, but “probably sooner” than that if it weren’t for Nasa’s shortcomings.

Responding to a tweet about Nasa’s Artemis space programme, which seeks to launch a manned mission to the moon as the first step of an eventual mission to Mars, Musk confirmed that the lunar lander the national space agency has commissioned from Nasa wouldn’t just be on track to be completed by 2024, but may even be finished before that.

Related: Nasa’s spacesuits aren’t ready for a manned moon mission in 2024

The hitch, however, is on Nasa’s part: despite already spending $420 million (£300 million) on spacesuits, the agency has conceded that they will not be ready on time for a moon landing by the end of 2024 as had been planned.

Musk has already claimed that SpaceX could also perform this task too, “if need be”, and the delays and cost overruns may prompt more criticism of state-led space exploration in face of the blooming private sector in this field.

Related: Bezos and Branson are having a billionaires’ bash in space and you’re not invited

Nonetheless you’ve got to wonder whether you can take Musk at his word. Quite the expert at over-promising and under-delivering, whether with regard to SpaceX or electric car manufacturer Tesla, of which he is also CEO, you shouldn’t be surprised if this time he’s once again offering the moon on a stick.







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