Trump wants U.S. to return to the moon, then shoot for Mars

Trump wants U.S. to return to the moon, then shoot for Mars

At a time when China is working on an ambitious lunar programme, President Donald Trump has vowed that the United States will remain the leader in space exploration as he began a process to return Americans to the moon.

At a White House signing ceremony for Space Policy Directive-1, Trump said that "long-term exploration and use" of the Moon will restore US leadership in space and lay the foundation for eventually sending humans to Mars and possibly beyond. The announcement continues the White House push to end dependence on Russian Federation for manned launches, which began when the Space Shuttle program retired six years ago.

President Donald Trump with former U.S. Senator and Apollo 17 astronaut Jack Schmitt, right, after a signing ceremony for Space Policy Directive 1 on December 11. "We will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars and, perhaps, someday, to many worlds beyond".

The ceremony also featured a 3.8 billion-year-old moon rock collected by Mr Schmitt's Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

As The Washington Post accurately points out, Trump isn't the first president to suggest man revisit the moon.

Gidley offered a comparable explanation, that Trump will "change our country's human spaceflight strategy to enable America to wind up plainly the main thrust for the space business, increase new information from the universe, and goad mind boggling innovation". In 2004, President George W. Bush unveiled a three-step vision for space exploration, saying the USA must "return to the moon by 2020".

"Mr. President, you've said that the pioneer spirit has always defined America", Pence said. However, with very little in the way of concrete goals, the directive is being seen as less of a push for scientific advancement and more of a dig against the Obama administration's space policies, which encouraged NASA to research nearby asteroids and plan for a Mars mission by the 2030s. "Rather than lead in space, too often we've chosen to drift and, as we learned 60 years ago, when we drift we fall behind". The government organization selected the two companies to transport crew to the International Space Station, launching from the U.S. Both companies will seek major testing milestones in 2018, with both orbital and crewed flight tests.

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