Donald Trump tells NASA to send Americans to Moon

Nettie James
December 12, 2017

On Monday afternoon, the President will sign a proclamation giving NASA an open door to space exploration, which includes sending American astronauts to the moon and Mars.

President Trump holds up an astronaut toy alongside former US Senator and Apollo 17 Astronaut Jack Schmitt, right, after a signing ceremony for Space Policy Directive 1, with the aim of returning Americans to the Moon.

The policy grew from a unanimous recommendation by the US National Space Council, chaired by Vice-President Mike Pence, after its first meeting October 5th.

The schedule didn't provide additional details about the event or the document, but a White House official later confirmed that the directive is linked to human space exploration policy.

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The directive, which came on the 45th anniversary of Apollo 17's landing on the moon, called for collaboration with commercial companies and other nations, but it did not specify when the moon mission would occur or how much it might cost.

NASA recently announced that for human astronauts, the path to Mars will include a stop at the moon, where the agency may build a facility now being called the Deep Space Gateway.

When the US retired the space shuttle program in 2011, NASA turned to private industry to fill in the gap when it comes to human space flight.

Former US president George W. Bush also pledged to send Americans to the Moon as part of the Constellation program.

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

In 2009, then president Barack Obama deemed it too costly and repetitive of missions already achieved, and canceled the program in order to focus on reaching Mars by the 2030s. "It marks an important step in returning American astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972, for long-term exploration and use".

"We're dreaming big", he added. Trump's directive orders Nasa instead to "enable human expansion across the solar system", "lead the return of humans to the moon" and follow that with "human missions to Mars and other destinations".

The effort is set to more effectively organise government, private industry, and worldwide efforts toward returning humans on the Moon.

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