Donald Trump Plans To Send US Astronauts Back To Moon

December 12, 2017

US President Donald Trump has signed a directive calling on NASA to return astronauts to the moon, something he said could eventually pave the way for human exploration of Mars. "It marks an important step in returning American astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972 for long-term exploration and use," Trump said at the White House on Monday. "We will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars and perhaps someday to many worlds beyond."

Trump also noted space exploration was tied to other applications, "including a military application." The White House acknowledged that partnerships with other nations and private industry would be required. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the National Space Council, have previously vowed to restart moon exploration.

Few details about thorny issues such as budgets or a timeline have been put forth. NASA said it would include funding for the new policy in its 2019 budget. The US space budget has been slashed over the years. No American astronaut has been to the moon since 1972, and the agency has more recently focused on near-Earth missions.

Past presidents, including George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, also proposed new missions to the moon and Mars, but budget constraints hindered their plans. The Obama administration ultimately refocused attention on asteroid missions and an eventual mission to Mars by the 2030s.


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