Donald Trump wants to send man back to moon, on to Mars

Andrew Cummings
December 13, 2017

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.

The move, Trump said, "marks an important step in returning American astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972 for long-time exploration".

In what has been described as ground breaking move by the U.S. media, President Trump has vowed that the USA will not only plant a flag and leave a footprint on its surface but instead gather vital information that will provide a foundation for a future trip to Mars. Space policy experts agree that any attempt to send people to Mars, which lies an average of 140 million miles (225 million kilometers) from Earth, would require vast technical prowess and a massive wallet. This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprints.

Trump's space approach would supplant President Obama's, which was established in 2010 and did exclude an objective to come back to the Moon.

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.

"With the experience and knowledge gained on the moon we will then be ready to take the next steps of space exploration: human missions to Mars and to worlds beyond", Bush said at NASA's headquarters in 2004. On the 20th anniversary of the first moon landing, Apollo 11, President George H.W. Bush announced the National Space Council of the time would "report back" with "concrete recommendations" to reach "the Moon and Mars and beyond". Constellation was projected to cost $100 billion, and aimed to get boots on the Moon's surface by the late 2020s.

It will focus on long-term explorations and use of the Moon's surface, in partnership with the private sector.

His administration has previously held several meetings with SpaceX boss Elon Musk and Amazon owner Jeff Bezos, who also owns Blue Origin.

Other than the Space Policy Directive 1, NASA is also in the midst of preparing for the Mars 2020 rover mission.

"Today, we pledge that he will not be the last, and I suspect we'll be finding other places to land in addition to the moon", Trump said.

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