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

The last time United States astronauts visited the Moon was during the Apollo missions of the 1960s and 1970s.

"Today we pledge that he will not be the last, and I suspect we'll be finding other places to land in addition to the Moon", Mr Trump said.

President Trump signed the order during a ceremony in the Oval Office, surrounded by members of the recently re-established National Space Council, or NSC (which provides recommendations to the president on space policy), as well as active NASA astronauts Christina Hammock Koch and Peggy Whitson, Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and retired astronaut Jack Schmitt, who flew to the moon on the Apollo 17 mission. "So we are the leader and we're going to stay the leader and we're going to increase it many fold".

Marco Caceres, a space analyst with defence and aerospace consulting firm Teal Group, said "there's not a lot of meat on" presidential directives to Nasa, given that they haven't been accompanied with specific funding proposals since the Apollo era, when America was racing to beat the Soviet Union in space.

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Constellation was projected to cost $100 billion, and aimed to get boots on the Moon's surface by the late 2020s.

Pence, during the first meeting of the National Space Council in October, said the Trump administration "will return American astronauts to the moon, not only to leave behind footprints and flags, but to build the foundation we need to send Americans to Mars and beyond". He noted that there are "a lot of people that want to help [NASA]" reach those goals, including global space partners and commercial space partners in the U.S. Musk, 46, served on Trump's early advisory councils until June of this year, when he parted ways with the administration over Trump's decision to pull the USA out of the Paris climate accords.

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.

After the shuttle program ended, Nasa turned to private industry to fill in the gap. According to NPR, this week marks 45 years since he walked on the moon, and since then, no humans have flown past low-Earth orbit.

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