Trump wants to send man back to the moon - and eventually Mars

Trump wants to send man back to the moon - and eventually Mars

President Trump on Monday is expected to sign a directive meant to send American astronauts back to the moon, with an eye on eventually reaching Mars.

The president signed the Space Policy Directive-1 on the 45th anniversary of the last crew mission to land on the moon, which was Apollo 17 lunar lander that touched down on the moon December 11, 1972.

Trump signed a directive to the NASA administrator outlining the new mission on Monday.

"The directive I am signing today will refocus America's space program on human exploration and discovery", Trump said.

Watch live in the video above.

It also aims to increase the private sector's role in space exploration according to a statement from the White House.

A view of earth from the International Space Station
A view of earth from the International Space Station

Last March, Trump signed the first NASA funding authorization in more than six years, which endorses a "stepping stone approach to exploration" with "missions to intermediate destinations in sustainable steps" while maintaining a long-term goal of human missions to Mars. Vice President Mike Pence made clear the administration's desire to return to the moon.

What's more, many anxious that NASA would get bogged down in the grey lunar dust and fail to move on toward the red planet.

But the asteroid mission proved more hard than expected.

NASA is already working with closely with lunar exploration companies like Moon Express, which received regulatory permission for a moon mission previous year, and Astrobotic, a Carnegie Mellon spin-off that says it has a $1 billion manifest (pdf) to deliver to the lunar surface.

And at the behest of Congress, the space agency has been building a giant new rocket and a deep space capsule. SpaceX and Boeing both have billion-dollar contracts to send American astronauts to the space station, with the first key tests of the technology slated for 2018. The vehicle is supposed to have its first test flight in 2019, when it will send an uncrewed capsule up to orbit the moon before returning to Earth. The company has already been hauling cargo to and from the station for NASA.


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