The US space policy keeps changing — at the expense of the next Moon landing

Harrison Schmitt and Eugene Cernan blasted off from the Taurus-Littrow valley on the Moon in their lunar module Challenger on December 14, 1972. Five days later, they splashed down safely in the Pacific, closing the Apollo 17 mission and becoming the last humans to visit the lunar surface or venture anywhere beyond low-Earth orbit.

Now the international Artemis program, lead by NASA, is aiming to put humans back on the Moon by 2024. But it is looking increasingly likely that this goal could be missed.