Trump signs directive to send astronauts to the Moon and Mars

Trump signs directive to send astronauts to the Moon and Mars

Trump signs directive to send astronauts to the Moon and Mars

US President Donald Trump authorised the acting NASA administrator Robert M. Lightfoot "lead an innovative space exploration programme to send American astronauts back to the moon, and eventually Mars" during a White House signing ceremony.

"We are the leader and we're going to stay the leader, and we're going to increase it many fold", Trump said in signing "Space Policy Directive 1" that establishes a foundation for a mission to the moon with an eye on going to Mars.

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

Even though much is being said about Donald Trump and how accusations of sexual misconduct against him could lead to his impeachment, the USA president seems unfazed and has been going around fulfilling his presidential duties.

Deputy White House Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement that the new policy reflects recommendations from the National Space Council, a White House advisory panel Trump appointed earlier in the year.

Experts say sending people to Mars, which lies an average of 140 million miles (225 million kilometres) from Earth, would require a massive cash investment and enormous technical development.

The event will coincide with the 45th anniversary of the last crewed mission to land on the moon.

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In approving the new policy, Trump abandoned what had been a goal of his predecessor, Democrat Barack Obama, who in 2010 backed a plan to send humans to a near-earth asteroid.

Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon - on July 20, 1969.

The US "will work with other nations and private industry to return astronauts to the Moon, developing the technology and means for manned exploration of Mars and other destinations in our solar system", it said.

Former US president George W. Bush also pledged to send Americans to the Moon as part of the Constellation program, which ran from 2005 to 2009.

"This is a giant step toward that inspiring future", Mr. Trump said.

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

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