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 5:10 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
85° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 93°
Robinson
Clear
83° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 92°
Indianapolis
Clear
85° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 91°
Rockville
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 87°
Casey
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 91°
Brazil
Clear
85° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 93°
Marshall
Clear
85° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 93°
The Heat Continues
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

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

Confirmed Cases: 149574

Reported Deaths: 7273
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook930534651
Lake10039425
DuPage9392477
Kane7909276
Will6996322
Winnebago311897
McHenry214198
St. Clair2054138
Kankakee131265
Unassigned1177210
Rock Island107330
Madison105470
Kendall100622
Champaign97315
Boone61721
DeKalb58720
Peoria57429
Sangamon46233
Jackson34019
McLean28913
Randolph2887
Stephenson2806
Ogle2784
Clinton24317
Macon23822
LaSalle23317
Whiteside20015
Union19519
Coles17917
Grundy1765
Iroquois1675
Tazewell1548
Knox1490
Warren1470
Monroe13713
Cass1367
Adams1341
Williamson1334
Morgan1323
Jefferson10717
Lee1042
McDonough10215
Henry981
Pulaski800
Vermilion792
Marion700
Macoupin603
Perry581
Montgomery561
Douglas540
Livingston532
Christian474
Jasper477
Jo Daviess471
Ford401
Woodford372
Jersey361
Franklin340
Bureau312
Menard260
Mercer250
Washington240
Fayette233
Mason230
Wabash230
Alexander220
Carroll212
Johnson200
Piatt200
Effingham191
Hancock191
Moultrie190
Shelby191
Crawford180
Logan180
Bond171
Cumberland170
Clark150
Fulton150
Massac150
Wayne151
Schuyler130
De Witt120
Marshall120
Edgar110
Brown100
Saline100
Greene80
Henderson80
Lawrence80
White80
Richland70
Hamilton60
Stark60
Gallatin40
Pike40
Clay20
Edwards20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Pope10
Putnam10
Scott10
Out of IL00

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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

Confirmed Cases: 48626

Reported Deaths: 2717
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11723689
Lake5212244
Elkhart332051
Allen2815132
St. Joseph198168
Cass16399
Hamilton1596101
Hendricks1414100
Johnson1288117
Porter73637
Tippecanoe7279
Madison66364
Clark66044
Bartholomew58944
Howard58057
LaPorte57926
Vanderburgh5706
Kosciusko5564
Marshall4926
Noble48428
Jackson4723
LaGrange4719
Delaware45050
Boone44943
Hancock44935
Shelby43025
Floyd38244
Morgan32931
Monroe30128
Montgomery29720
Grant29526
Clinton2892
Dubois2836
Henry28016
White26510
Decatur25532
Lawrence24625
Vigo2368
Dearborn23323
Warrick22129
Harrison21622
Greene19032
Miami1842
Jennings17612
Putnam1708
DeKalb1634
Scott1628
Daviess14717
Wayne1426
Orange13523
Perry1359
Steuben1302
Franklin1268
Ripley1227
Jasper1212
Wabash1132
Carroll1102
Fayette1017
Newton9910
Whitley965
Starke933
Gibson872
Randolph804
Huntington782
Wells751
Jefferson722
Fulton711
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Adams501
Owen491
Benton480
Sullivan451
Posey440
Spencer411
Blackford392
Brown391
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton311
Switzerland270
Martin230
Parke230
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193