Trump tells NASA to send astronauts to Mars

President Trump signs a directive authorizing NASA to conduct a space exploration program that would see Americans return to the moon, and eventually Mars.

Posted: Dec 11, 2017 5:00 PM

President Donald Trump wants to send astronauts where no man has gone before.

Trump authorized the acting NASA administrator Robert M. Lightfoot Jr. to "lead an innovative space exploration program to send American astronauts back to the moon, and eventually Mars" during a White House signing ceremony.

Standing with retired astronauts and Vice President Mike Pence, Trump touted the initiative as the first step in establishing a foundation on the moon for "an eventual mission to Mars and perhaps someday to many worlds beyond."

"The directive I am signing today will refocus America's space program on human exploration and discovery," Trump said. "It marks an important step in returning American astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972 for long-term exploration and use. This time we will not only plan on flag and leave our footprint."

Deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley said Monday that Trump's directive came after the National Space Council sent recommendations to the President.

"He will change our nation's human spaceflight policy to help America become the driving force for the space industry, gain new knowledge from the cosmos, and spur incredible technology," Gidley said Monday.

The directive, Gidley said, will push NASA to "refocus ... on its core mission of space exploration."

Trump's pick for NASA administrator -- Jim Bridenstine, a Republican congressman from Oklahoma -- has yet to be confirmed. He has come under withering criticism from Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, who wields considerable power over the space program.

Both Trump and Pence have made it clear since the 2016 campaign that they would like to send astronauts back to the moon.

During a 2016 campaign event near NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Trump pledged to "free NASA from the restriction of serving primarily as a logistical agency for low Earth-orbit activities" and "instead refocus on space exploration."

"Under a Trump administration, Florida and America will lead the way into the stars," he said.

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."

"The moon will be a stepping-stone, a training ground, a venue to strengthen our commercial and international partnerships as we refocus America's space program toward human space exploration," Pence said.

Other Republicans, namely former former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, have expressed interest in going back to the moon.

During his 2012 presidential bid, Gingrich advocated for forming colonies on the moon.

Terre Haute
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 94°
Robinson
Clear
85° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 92°
Indianapolis
Few Clouds
87° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 91°
Rockville
Scattered Clouds
87° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 93°
Casey
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 96°
Brazil
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 94°
Marshall
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 94°
Hot and humid!
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

Monday Morning Weather Update

Image

Coronavirus coverage, what we're following for this week ahead

Image

Danger inside hot cars

Image

More stray pets reported over holiday weekend

Image

Brazil Concert Band returns to the stage

Image

4-H auction goes virtual

Image

Volunteers needed for food program

Image

Restaurants welcome in customers over holiday weekend

Image

Sunday Morning Forecast Update

Image

Illinois Lottery closing claims centers temporarily

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 147251

Reported Deaths: 7020
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook925324627
Lake9954423
DuPage9311475
Kane7856275
Will6923320
Winnebago309196
McHenry211597
St. Clair2017137
Kankakee130765
Madison103669
Rock Island103329
Kendall99621
Champaign94813
Boone60821
DeKalb57819
Peoria55628
Sangamon45032
Jackson33919
Randolph2887
McLean27713
Stephenson2765
Ogle2714
Clinton24217
Macon23522
LaSalle22617
Union19519
Whiteside19515
Grundy1735
Coles17217
Iroquois1625
Tazewell1508
Warren1430
Knox1400
Cass1367
Williamson1324
Monroe13013
Morgan1303
Adams1221
Jefferson10717
McDonough10215
Lee1012
Henry961
Pulaski790
Vermilion782
Marion690
Macoupin583
Perry571
Douglas540
Unassigned540
Livingston522
Montgomery481
Jasper477
Jo Daviess461
Christian454
Ford381
Jersey351
Woodford352
Bureau302
Franklin290
Menard240
Fayette233
Mercer230
Wabash230
Alexander220
Mason220
Carroll212
Washington210
Johnson200
Piatt200
Hancock191
Moultrie190
Shelby191
Crawford180
Effingham181
Logan180
Bond161
Cumberland160
Fulton160
Clark150
Massac150
Wayne141
Schuyler130
De Witt120
Brown100
Edgar100
Marshall100
Greene90
Saline90
Henderson80
White80
Lawrence70
Hamilton60
Richland40
Stark40
Pike30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Pope10
Putnam10
Scott10
Out of IL00

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 48201

Reported Deaths: 2693
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11624683
Lake5146242
Elkhart328546
Allen2762129
St. Joseph194366
Cass16389
Hamilton1552101
Hendricks1403100
Johnson1278118
Porter72837
Tippecanoe7158
Madison65864
Clark65144
Bartholomew58544
Howard57557
LaPorte57326
Kosciusko5464
Vanderburgh5226
Marshall4924
Noble47828
Jackson4703
LaGrange4708
Hancock44835
Boone44243
Delaware44250
Shelby42525
Floyd37944
Morgan32931
Grant29426
Monroe29428
Montgomery29420
Clinton2892
Dubois2736
Henry26315
White26310
Decatur25032
Lawrence24425
Dearborn23623
Vigo2348
Warrick21429
Harrison21322
Unassigned193193
Greene18832
Miami1822
Jennings17611
Putnam1698
DeKalb1624
Scott1607
Daviess14317
Wayne1386
Orange13623
Steuben1292
Perry1279
Franklin1248
Jasper1212
Ripley1167
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette997
Newton9810
Starke933
Whitley925
Huntington812
Gibson802
Randolph794
Jefferson722
Wells721
Fulton701
Jay680
Washington671
Knox640
Pulaski641
Clay604
Rush583
Adams501
Benton480
Owen471
Sullivan441
Brown391
Posey390
Spencer381
Blackford372
Crawford320
Tipton321
Fountain312
Switzerland270
Parke230
Martin220
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110