Since the historic first steps of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in 1969, only 22 additional astronauts have made the trip from the Earth to the Moon.

NASA wants to add to this number by 2024.

To return to the lunar surface, NASA has designed an orbiting spaceship called the Lunar Gateway . Located about 250,000 miles from Earth, the Gateway will be a kind of temporary home/workplace for astronauts.

In fact, the Gateway, smaller than the International Space Station, is about the size of a studio apartment.

Once docked, astronauts can live aboard the spaceship for up to three months at a time, conduct science experiments, and shuttle to and from the Moon.

The spacecraft will act as a kind of outpost, both enabling access to the Moon’s surface as well as providing a base for the next exploration efforts into deep space.

“The Gateway will give us a strategic presence in cislunar space,” NASA's Associate Administrator William Gerstenmaier told Tech Briefs in July. “We will ultimately translate that experience toward human missions to Mars.”

If you want to learn more about the Gateway, as well as other ideas to help us further explore space, make sure you watch our presentation: The Next Giant Leap: Back to the Moon and On to Mars.

In the Webinar, NASA Langley’s Debi Tomek spoke about the many technologies designed to bring humans back to the Moon by 2024. Industry experts Rob Chambers and John Lowry also discussed how Lockheed Martin and Timken have joined the return effort.

Watch now!

The power and propulsion element of the Gateway is a 50-kilowatt solar electric propulsion spacecraft — three times more powerful than current capabilities. (Image Credit: NASA)