Among the first words astronauts said after landing on the moon on July 20, 1969, were, “Houston … the eagle has landed.”

Now, as the Johnson Space Center celebrates the 50th anniversary of that monumental day, the Bay Area prepares to repeat history: NASA wants to be back on the moon by 2024 to learn more about traveling and surviving in deep space before humanity attempts to reach Mars, officials told Community Impact Newspaper.

But before man walks on the moon for the first time in decades, it will be companies in the Bay Area who test technology and send landers and other machines to the lunar surface. Meanwhile, the Johnson Space Center will train astronauts and prepare technology used to achieve NASA’s goal, and the center’s mission control center willbe the link connecting Earth to those who next walk on the moon, said Bob Mitchell, the president of the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership.

The Johnson Space Center and private companies alike will hire more personnel over the next several years in preparation for NASA’s most ambitious mission yet. As a result, officials said they expect a slow but steady boost to the Bay Area’s economy.

“What used to be science fiction is not science fiction today,” Mitchell said. ”It’s all extremely exciting. It’s going to be very beneficial to our community.” 

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