NASA released the video above on YouTube on Friday (November 16, 2018) and released it via Twitter Saturday. It’s a teaser, essentially a trailer, read by voiceover actor Mike Rowe, for the space agency’s plan to establish a permanent human presence on the moon and then venture beyond, to Mars. As of Sunday morning, the video had 732,295 views; we predict it’ll pick up speed and go viral this week because – although it doesn’t say much – what it does say is so inspiring. For example:
This is about sustainable science and feeding forward the advance of the human spirit … because we are the pioneers, the thinkers, the star-sailors, the visionaries, the do-ers … and because we stand on the shoulders of giants to go farther than humanity has ever been.
How long have we space fans waited for words like these from NASA? A long time.
And if the words echo the style of American politics in recent years, they should. NASA’s current focus on establishing a sustainable presence on the moon and Mars are, in part, an answer to the Space Policy Directive 1, signed by Donald Trump at the end of 2017. The directive:
… calls for the NASA administrator to ‘lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities.’
The effort will more effectively organize government, private industry, and international efforts toward returning humans on the moon, and will lay the foundation that will eventually enable human exploration of Mars.
Elsewhere on EarthSky today, we’re reporting on a related effort, centered around a return to the moon, describing the role a Colorado-based private company – called Lunar Outpost – might play in this effort, by creating and building small, exploratory moon rovers.
But back to the new video. In a speech read during it, NASA said:
We’ve taken giant leaps and left our mark in the heavens.
Now we’re building the next chapter, returning to the moon to stay, and preparing to go beyond. We are NASA – and after 60 years, we’re just getting started.
We're returning to the Moon, preparing to go beyond to Mars. We are going. We are NASA. pic.twitter.com/y24AaicGRy
— NASA (@NASA) November 17, 2018
Bottom line: A new NASA video – posted to YouTube on November 16, 2018 – is a teaser for NASA’s shifted focus on establishing a human presence on the moon, and venturing outward to Mars.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.