Trump directs NASA to send astronauts back to moon and Mars

Trump to start process of sending Americans back to moon: White House

Trump directs NASA to send astronauts back to moon and Mars

President Donald Trump has directed NASA to return astronauts to the moon, and eventually send them to Mars. 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.

Trump said the initiative would create many jobs and he hoped to see a lunar mission serve as a stepping stone to Mars.

He was asked by CNBC host Jim Cramer if he believed Boeing or SpaceX would "get a man on Mars first", to which Muilenburg replied, "Eventually we're going to go to Mars, and I firmly believe the first person that sets foot on Mars will get there on a Boeing rocket".

The US President spoke of his grand plans to explore the galaxy as he launched a new space policy directive yesterday.

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.

Trump's announcement essentially revives goals that former President George W. Bush announced in 2004.

In addition to the direction to plan for human return to the Moon, the policy also ends NASA's existing effort to send humans to an asteroid.

Harrison Schmitt, the most recent living human to walk on Earth's satellite, was present at the signing, which happened 45 years to the minute after he landed on the Moon.

And his excitement was evident in his four-minute speech at the White House when he said: "This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprint", reported IANS.

"Imagine the possibility waiting in those big attractive stars if we dare to dream big".

The president "will change our nation's human spaceflight policy to help America become the driving force for the space industry, gain new knowledge from the cosmos, and spur incredible technology", Gidley said.

"We will engage the best and brightest across government and private industry and our partners across the world to reach new milestones in human achievement".

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