NASA is running out of astronauts and will need more to complete all its space missions, according to a new report.
The US space agency’s Office of Investigator General revealed that the astronaut department is stretched as thin as it was in the 1970s.
GettyNasa needs more astronauts, according to a new report[/caption]
Nasa has just 44 astronauts as of 2022.
In 2000 it hit a peak of 150 astronauts.
With nations all over the world in a space race to explore the Moon, it doesn’t seem like an ideal time to have less people to send.
Nasa has some ambitious crewed mission coming up including the Artemis Mission, which aims to put a man and woman on the Moon in 2024.
It expressed its concerns about being understaffed in a new report.
It stated: “The Agency may not have a sufficient number of additional astronauts available for unanticipated attrition and crew reassignments or ground roles such as engaging in program development, staffing Astronaut Office leadership and liaison positions, and serving as spokespeople for the Agency.
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“In light of the expanding space flight opportunities anticipated for the Artemis missions, the corps might be at risk of being misaligned in the future, resulting in disruptive crew reorganizations or mission delays.”
Nasa lost around 10 astronauts a year between 2004 and 2012.
Some of this was due to astronauts retiring and not being replaced as well as largely discontinuing the Space Shuttle missions.
Nasa said: “As Nasa enters a new era of human space flight, including returning to the Moon and eventually landing humans on Mars, effective management of its astronaut corps—the people who fly its space flight missions—is critical to the Agency’s success.”
As it begins its search for more crew it, the agency will have to take into account budgets and training timelines.
It can take up to two years of training to become a fully qualified astronaut.
In other news, China has built an ‘artificial moon’ to train its astronauts for future missions.
A rugby ball shaped planet has been spotted outside our Solar System and scientists are calling it deformed.
And, Nasa thinks the James Webb Space Telescope will likely be hit by space debris.