Enlarge / Mike Griffin’s plan for a fast Moon return would use two upgraded SLS rockets. (credit: NASA)

On Wednesday, former NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, 73, put forward a deferential but determined countenance as he addressed a House subcommittee that was conducting a hearing on NASA’s Artemis Program to return humans to the Moon.

“I will be direct,” Griffin said. “In my judgment, the Artemis Program is excessively complex, unrealistically priced, compromises crew safety, poses very high mission risk of completion, and is highly unlikely to be completed in a timely manner even if successful.”

Essentially, Griffin told the House Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee, NASA could not afford to faff around with a complex, partly commercial plan to put humans back on the Moon, with an eye toward long-term settlement. Instead, he said, the agency must get back to the basics and get to the Moon as fast as possible. China, which has a competing lunar program, must not be allowed to beat NASA and its allies back to the Moon. The space agency, he said, needed to “restart” the Moon program and chuck out all of the commercial space nonsense.

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