Trump wants to shift NASA resources to exploring the moon and Mars

Trump to revive US space program

President Donald Trump directed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to send American astronauts back to the moon and eventually to Mars, shifting the agency's mission from the study of Earth.

President Donald Trump is scheduled to sign his administration's first space policy directive in a White House ceremony December 11, one that will formally direct NASA to send humans back to the moon.

"The directive I am signing today will refocus America's space programme on human exploration and discovery".

Mr Trump also said the program would lay the foundation for an eventual mission to Mars, although he did not give a date for this.

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

'This time we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprint, ' he said. "It marks an important step in returning American astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972, for long-term exploration and use".

The President said he was taking a giant step toward "reclaiming America's proud destiny in space".

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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.

In September, Trump nominated Representative Jim Bridenstine, a Republican from Oklahoma, to be the next NASA administrator.

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In a separate statement, NASA officials said that the directive also officially ends NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), which would have sent robotic probes and then humans to an asteroid.

The directive calls on NASA to ramp up its efforts to send people to deep space, a policy that unites politicians on both sides of the aisle in the United States. As did industry groups the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration and the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, whose president Eric Stallmer said that commercial companies have "invested hundreds of millions of dollars in private capital to develop innovative capabilities for lunar transport, operations and resource utilization".

The new directive is recommended by the National Space Council, headed by Vice President Mike Pence.

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