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Trump directs NASA to send astronauts back to moon and Mars


Trump will sign "Space Policy Directive 1" that orders NASA "to lead an innovative space exploration program to send American astronauts back to the Moon, and eventually Mars", spokesman Hogan Gidley said.

"This is a giant step toward that inspiring future and toward reclaiming America's proud destiny in space", Trump said on Monday at a White House ceremony, where he signed the new Nasa directive. 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 better known Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the Moon after Armstrong and a fervent advocate of future space missions, was also present at the ceremony but not mentioned by Trump during his speech.

In their statement on the directive, the White House said Trump is refocusing the space program on feasible goals.

'We will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars, and perhaps someday, to many worlds beyond'.




With this directive, Mr Trump abandons plans set by his predecessor Barack Obama, to send humans to an asteroid near earth.

"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", Mr Trump said.

Constellation was projected to cost $100 billion, and aimed to get boots on the Moon's surface by the late 2020s.

NASA said initial funding for the new policy would be included in its budget request for fiscal year 2019.

Nasa's Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot welcomed the announcement. On Wednesday, the closely held company is slated to fire off a Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft laden with cargo supplies destined for the International Space Station, in what will be the company's 17th mission of the year. "No human has walked there since", the statement said. 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.

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