NASA just announced that SpaceX will fly its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) planetary-defense mission. The total launch cost for NASA will be about $69 million.The Falcon 9 will be the launch vehicle and planned launch is June 2021.
This is not the first mission of its kind---Japan's Hayabusa2 probe smashed a copper ball into the Ryugu space rock to unearth untouched subsurface material for study.
Political risks aside, the fortunate difference this time is the grand back-up plan that is SpaceX. That essentially confines technical risks to the orbital transfer and lunar parts of the project, and NASA can still do those things fairly well. The only possible competitor for the Lunar return could possibly be China, but they have their own plan, schedule, and will not be rushed by anyone, hence 2024 appears to be competition-free. All that is probably why Pence changed the deadline.
@Homer---that announcement came only two days ago and my article was finished just before that announcement came out and set to post today.
I hope the date is true---I am wary of political statements by possible candidates for the Presidency. The 60s space program was well-funded and we feared that the Russians would beat us to the Moon---that would have been a strategic scientific coup as well as a strong possible military coup.
I am hoping that the politicians/Congress sticks to this schedule, but you never know with another Presidential election coming up next year!
There is still a chance that other nations may get to the Moon first if we do not push this effort forward for the US and that would again be a potential strategic scientific coup as well as a strong possible military coup for other nations.
There is no more 2028. The new hard deadline for return to the Moon has been set to 2024 by Pence. It is either that, or NASA will be replaced in that task, and NASA was put on notice. The full video recording of that event is available online.