Donald Trump tells NASA to send Americans to Moon

U.S President Donald Trump signs an Executive Order on space exploration- DC

"Since the beginning of his administration, President Trump has taken steps to refocus NASA on its core mission of space exploration", Deputy White House Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement.

The directive says that "the moon is of interest to global partners and is within reach of America's private space industry".

"Forty-five years ago today, NASA's final Apollo mission landed on the surface of the moon".

When the US retired the space shuttle program in 2011, NASA turned to private industry to fill in the gap when it comes to human space flight.

The policy calls for NASA to "lead an innovative and sustainable program 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".

President Trump holds up an astronaut toy alongside former US Senator and Apollo 17 Astronaut Jack Schmitt, right, after a signing ceremony for Space Policy Directive 1, with the aim of returning Americans to the Moon.

"We will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars and perhaps someday to many worlds beyond".

On July 20, 1969, United States astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon. The resulting NASA programme, Constellation, was to put astronauts on the moon by 2020 but was hobbled by delays and cost overruns, reports The New York Times. It also makes it clear that the Trump administration wants to explore the moon in partnership with the private sector and other countries.

The new directive is recommended by the National Space Council, headed by Vice President Mike Pence. George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush gave speeches about space exploration, and President Barack Obama promised a "journey to Mars". "It's been 45 years since we've been to the moon, and a lot of people have a lot of ideas".

The goal of the new Moon missions would include "long-term exploration and use" of its surface.

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.

"Today, the same spirit beckons us to begin new journeys of exploration and discovery, to lift our eyes all of the way up to the heavens and once again imagine the possibilities waiting in those big, handsome stars if we dare to dream big and that's what our country is doing again", he said.

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