NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Leaving Earth orbit. Computer artwork of the spacecraft that will carry 4 NASA astronauts to the Moon. The crew are in a capsule (upper right) attached to the lunar lander. The spacecraft is propelled out of Earth orbit by 5 main space shuttle engines and will reach Moon orbit in 3 days. All four astronauts will then enter the lunar lander and descend to the Moon, leaving the spacecraft to wait for them in orbit. NASA's plans to send manned missions to explore the Moon's surface were announced on 19 September 2005. The first mission is scheduled for 2018. The program is predicted to cost $104 billion. The last Moon landing was NASA's Apollo 17 mission in 1972.
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