A non-funded mandate to go to the moon undertaken with a flourish of a worthless pen notwithstanding, the actual science and governmental programs already underway around the world are likely to see moon landings within the year. What? You didn't know? Of course not, because the news you get is filtered down to marketing platforms meant not to fill your head, leaving room for medical remedies you must desperately want to pester your doctor about.
Next week (yes, Dec. 28) the Indian Research Organization will launch the TeamIndus Satellite Launch Vehicle atop their PSLV rocket from Sriharikota (check your geography knowledge). After the first, second, and third stage separation (a technological feat previously only the USA had), the rocket will speed on to the moon where the fourth stage will separate and a lander will make a Moon de-orbit and hopefully land unscathed on Mare Imbrium near the polar top of the Moon. There, the IndianTeam Indus lander will conduct soil and other spectra-analysis experiments, giving improved scientific ability a chance to claim new knowledge from the moon to Indian scientists.
Oh, and piggy-backing on the TeamIndus lander is Team Hakuto (ISpace, Inc.) a Tokyo mining business that has a lunar rover vehicle with will, in all likelihood, claim the Google $30,000,000 X-Prize for roving around the Moon.
Next, in early 2018 (yes, only months away) a Cape Canaveral company, Moon Express, will launch their Lunar Scout on top of a privately funded and built Rocket Lab Electron booster. They plan to orbit the moon as a proving grounds for their core business: ferrying payloads for a whole string of customers already lined up: several governments, universities and private companies.
And let's not forget China which has its own secret lunar program. Who knows when they will go?
Then there are two programs well underway without specific launch dates. Synergy Moon International, based in Mojave, CA, which has built Neptune 8, a rocket and space system to put a lander on the moon. Their flight testing is well advanced and it seems likely that in 2019 they may take a shot. The other contender is Team SpaceIL, a non-profit company in Israel which has built and tested a lander, well actually a lunar hopper-robot. Once on the Moon's surface, the hopper can use the low gravity to hop across the surface, covering many miles, as it collects scientific analysis and images to send back home. This lander is packed full of electronics and is supported by more than twenty of the top technology companies worldwide. It'll go to the moon and, in all likelihood if that proves successful, Mars is next. All that is in the planning… meanwhile…
We're signing bits of paper, not introducing any bill to Congress to fund a darned thing. When Kennedy said we should go to the moon, he had already talked to Congressional leaders and negotiated the financial package necessary. It is what gave us printed circuit boards, the microchip, the plastics, metal alloys, computer programming and perhaps 50% of the modern world technology we all now enjoy. Vision for leaders does not come easily. Harder still is to negotiate the compromise and funding necessary to make such great scientific and life-enhancing programs take place. Bragging that you have made an edict without bothering to negotiate the needs beforehand is meaningless or worst, feckless. As a nation, we're being left behind or, disturbingly, allowing corporations to leapfrog the public trust and benefit proven by the Apollo and Shuttle programs.