President Donald Trump made it the United States’ official policy to send American astronauts back to the moon, and eventually to Mars, via a new space decree signed Monday.
Trump signed the policy at the White House, directing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to resume its exploration of the moon and Mars, a significant change from NASA’s former mission, which largely entailed the study of Earth. The policy marks a reversal of former President Barack Obama’s orders to shut down many elements of the space program.
Trump announced that sending men back to the moon would expand America’s innovation, military security, and economic ventures. He emphasized that the new mission will also greatly enhance America’s military capabilities and create jobs.
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,” Deputy White House Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement, according to Bloomberg.
“We thank you for all you done to serve our nation … and advance American leadership in outer space,” Vice President Mike Pence said at the signing. “America will lead in space in the future and for generations to come.” He also noted that sending astronauts back to the moon is vital in order to achieve America’s strategic space objectives, and that doing so will “spur innovation and create jobs.”
Trump mentioned jobs a number of times again as he signed the official documentation, indicating that NASA will launch American astronauts to the moon once again.
The policy comes after the National Space Council imparted recommendations to the White House earlier in the year.
Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to land on the Moon in 1969. Since then, there have been six manned U.S. landings, between 1969 and 1972, and numerous unmanned landings.
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