Monday, 20 May, 2019

Trump tells NASA to return American astronauts to Moon

Getty Images Getty Images
Patty Aguilar | 12 December, 2017, 15:48

Echoing astronaut Neil Armstrong's first words upon stepping foot on the moon's surface in 1969, the president called the directive - which codifies instructions that NASA "return American astronauts to the moon" as "national policy", according to Vice President Mike Pence - a "giant step" toward an "inspiring future".

Trump has taken several steps to refocus NASA's mission on space exploration. "And perhaps, someday, to many worlds beyond".

"For all of this goal-setting, the real test of Trump administration's space plan is simple: is it a giveaway to special interests, or an actual space strategy that will push us ahead", said Phil Larson, an assistant dean at the University of Colorado's college of engineering.

"Space has so much to do with so many other applications, including a military application". Whatever the reasons, the debate is largely moot - the United States is going to try for more astronauts on the Moon.

Trump's plan partially revolves around using the moon as a jumping-off point to get to Mars, though the directive vaguely adds that it's also "of interest to worldwide partners and is within reach of America's private space industry".

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The new policy asks NASA to lead an innovative and sustainable programme of exploration with commercial and global partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities. The Apollo 17 lunar lander touched down on the moon on December 11, 1972.

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 next generation will dream even bigger and reach higher as we launch challenging new missions, and make new discoveries and technological breakthroughs on this dynamic path", he said. And that's what our country is doing again: "We're dreaming big", he said.

Trump's plans, which are a part of the Space Policy Directive 1, intend to prioritise the exploration of space, something he has been stressing on for a while now.

This is unedited, unformatted feed from the Press Trust of India wire.

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