On Monday, President Donald Trump released an announcement in which he said that the moon would be the next destination for American austronauts
“It marks a first step in returning American astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972, for long-term exploration and use,” Mr. Trump said during a brief ceremony at the White House
“This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprints,” Mr. Trump said. “We will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars, and perhaps someday, to many worlds beyond.”
“Today we pledge he will not be the last,” Mr. Trump said.
This announcement revives the goals that President George W. Bush had in 2004. Constellation, the resulting NASA program was to pur astronauts on the moon by 2020; however, it was hobbled by delays and cost overruns.
In 2010, President Obama canceled it and told NASA to focus on reaching an asteroid in the 2020s and then Mars in the 2030s.
Space adviser in the Obama administration, Phillip Larson, embraced the possibility of more commercial involvement in space exploration. However, he said that questions remained unanswered regarding Trump’s directive.
“For all of this goal-setting, the real test of the Trump administration’s space plan is simple,” Mr. Larson said. “Is it a giveaway to special interests, or an actual space strategy that will push us ahead? We don’t know the answer to that yet.”