President Donald Trump signed his new space policy directive, urging the United States to return to the moon, and travel to Mars and beyond.
The president said he wanted the send American astronauts back to the Moon for “long-term exploration and use.”
“This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprint, we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars,” he said. “And perhaps, someday, to many worlds beyond.”
Trump hosted astronaut Jack Schmitt, the last American to land on the moon, at the White House, as well as astronauts Christina Koch and Peggy Whitson.
“This is a giant step toward that inspiring future and toward reclaiming America’s proud destiny in space,” Trump said, referring to his new directive on space.
Vice President Mike Pence also attended the White House event, whom Trump acknowledged was helping him with the future of the space program.
“Establishing a renewed American presence on the moon is vital to achieve our strategic objectives and the objectives outlined by our National Space Council,” Pence said.
Trump’s directive to return to the moon imitates that of former President George W. Bush, who shared the same idea. Former President Barack Obama did not like the idea.
“I just have to say pretty bluntly here: We’ve been there before,” Obama said in 2010. “There’s a lot more of space to explore, and a lot more to learn when we do.”