Astronaut who has been to the Moon says he doesn’t believe in returning to the satellite in 2024

American astronaut Charles Duke (85) said he does not believe in a return of humans to the Moon by the year 2024, as predicted by NASA’s Artemis program.

Underway since 2017, the Artemis program is an audacious step for the United States — in addition to taking the first woman to the satellite, the mission should lay the foundations for a constant presence of humans on the Moon.

For Duke, however, manned travel could still happen in this decade. “But it all depends on the funding that the government [norte-americano] will make available. The rockets and other necessary items will be ready soon, so I think we have a good chance,” said the astronaut in an interview with TechWorld on Thursday (26).

Duke, who was the tenth person to set foot on the Moon in 1971, when he was part of the Apollo 16 mission, was in São Paulo for the opening of the “Space Adventure” exhibition, on display in the parking lot of Shopping Eldorado (Pinheiros) until the 26th of October.

Charles DukeAmerican astronaut Charles Duke during the opening of the ‘Space Adventure’ exhibition, in São Paulo (credits: Everton Lopes Batista/TecMundo)

The show features 300 original NASA mission items and allows for an immersive experience in the world of space travel.

science fiction and reality

Despite the resemblance to sci-fi screenplays, the reality of going through intense astronaut training, taking a trip, and getting to the moon is harsh and exhausting, says Duke. The astronaut said that during the mission, he did not have time to think about the philosophical or religious implications of what he was experiencing: “I was too busy!” he said.

Duke, who claims to be a fan of the “Star Wars” movie series (George Lucas) and the movie “2001 – A Space Odyssey,” says the reality of space travel is quite different from what we see on screen — and extremely difficult to be reproduced in the cinema.

“It’s difficult to simulate a gravity one-sixth smaller than Earth’s [como é a gravidade na Lua], and even harder to simulate zero gravity. But some movies manage to do that well, like ‘Apollo 13’. I really like this movie,” Duke said, referring to the 1995 movie directed by Ron Howard.