Antonio Manaytay – Fourth Estate Contributor
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – President Donald Trump has signed Monday the US Space Policy directive instructing NASA to return American astronauts to the moon again as part of the manned extraterrestrial exploration program.
“It is America’s destiny to be at the forefront of humanity’s eternal quest for knowledge and to be the leader amongst nations on our adventure into the great unknown,” Trump, in a statement released by the White House after signing, said.
The plan to return to the moon and beyond was endorsed by the National Space Council during its October inaugural meeting in order “to change the course of US human spaceflight exploration.”
The Space Policy Directive-1 signed by the US president came six months after reviving the National Space Council, the first time in 24 years.
Astronaut Harrison Schmitt, who is one of the two humans left to walk on the moon as part of the Apollo 17 mission 45 years ago.
After Apollo 17 no American astronaut had gone beyond low-Earth orbit. NASA, at present, does not own a space vehicle. The last of its space shuttles were retired in 2011.
“This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprint, we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars and, perhaps someday, to many worlds beyond,” the president said.
The signing of the directive had set the template of what Trump administration sets to do in space: conquer Mars. Getting a manned exploration of the Red Planet, however, is something the space community is not yet certain.
The Trump administration’s moon-first approach to space exploration was first announced by Vice President Pence during the October meeting of the National Space Council.
To harness the potential of the privately-run space programs, Trump will create incentives for private industry.
“The United States will work with other nations and private industry to return astronauts to the Moon,” the White House statement said.
The new space program policy seeks to reclaim the nation’s leadership in space exploration.
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