Published: Tue, December 12, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Trump puts Moon back on NASA's road map to Mars

Trump puts Moon back on NASA's road map to Mars

As he signed a policy directive Monday meant to "refocus the space program on human exploration and discovery", President Donald Trump instructed NASA to return American astronauts to the moon, alluded to an "eventual mission to Mars" and promised to "restore American leadership in space".

"This time we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprint", Trump said at a White House ceremony. The president said that the U.S. eventually aims to reach Mars and many other "worlds".

Trump said he was taking a giant step toward "reclaiming America's proud destiny in space".

He signed the directive at the White House Monday.

Donald Trump announced today that one of the many pressing goals of his administration is to send astronauts back to the moon, and eventually, Mars.

Lunar sample 70215 was retrieved from the Moon's surface and returned by Mr Schmitt's Apollo 17 crew. Details of what the policy entails aren't available at this point, but the signing will take place at 3PM Eastern.

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Trump said the action will "refocus America's space program on human exploration and discovery".

"That's what our country is doing again, we're dreaming big", the president said, with Apollo 17 moonwalker Harrison Schmitt, Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin and other key space program officials looking on.

"The next generation will dream even bigger and reach higher as we launch challenging new missions, and make new discoveries and technological breakthroughs on this dynamic path", he said.

The recommendations were made by the National Space Council, which had earlier been shut down but was re-established in June on Trump's orders. Both the presidential transition team and NASA's director nominee Jim Bridenstine have floated the possibility of mining the Moon, but there's no immediate indication that this will be part of the directive.

The Space Policy Directive 1 will "more effectively organize government, private industry, and worldwide efforts toward returning humans [to] the Moon, and will lay the foundation that will eventually enable human exploration of Mars", agency officials said.

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