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

Trump It's Time to Send Americans to the Moon Again

President Trump will sign a directive on Monday afternoon aimed at shifting NASA's resources and attention toward the moon and Mars, according to a statement from the White House.

Both Trump and Pence further argued that investment in the space program would lead to increased job creation, innovation and military applications.

In their statement on the directive, the White House said Trump is refocusing the space program on feasible goals. The policy halts NASA's current work to send astronauts to an asteroid.

Trump signed the space policy on Monday, which also marked the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 17 mission, which was the last time humans walked on the moon.

This is set to be followed by missions to Mars and beyond.

It isn't unusual for recent presidents to scale back their predecessors' ambitions for space exploration. Schmitt was one of the last two people to walk on the moon.

"The directive I am signing today will refocus America's space programme on human exploration and discovery".

Budget problems has been on ongoing issue for NASA for years.

Nasa's Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot welcomed the announcement. Bridenstine, who if confirmed would be the first elected official to head the agency, is known as an advocate for bringing private companies such as Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, into Nasa's operations.

SpaceX launches rockets for customers including NASA, commercial satellite operators and the USA military. The White House aims to send astronauts to space aboard American-made rockets in upcoming years, and said American companies will provide rockets and engines to the Pentagon for national security payloads.

"For all of this goal-setting, the real test of Trump administration's space plan is simple: is it a giveaway to special interests, or an actual space strategy that will push us ahead", said Phil Larson, an assistant dean at the University of Colorado's college of engineering.

After the shuttle program ended, Nasa turned to private industry to fill in the gap. Musk has also announced plans to send paying tourists on flights around the moon. It is known that Pence too, in the past, has expressed interest in human lunar missions and had also spoken about how the moon was the foundation to build and strengthen global partnerships.

The Commercial Spaceflight Federation, which represents companies like SpaceX and Virgin Galactic Ltd., also applauded Trump's action in an emailed press release.

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