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 5:20 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.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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

Confirmed Cases: 34574

Reported Deaths: 2134
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9853578
Lake3616190
Allen161869
Cass15877
Elkhart132228
St. Joseph127434
Hendricks116971
Hamilton115993
Johnson1105108
Madison58659
Porter53928
Bartholomew51135
Clark50441
LaPorte43323
Howard40828
Tippecanoe4023
Jackson3891
Delaware38537
Shelby37322
Hancock33827
Floyd31839
Boone31535
Morgan27724
Vanderburgh2742
Montgomery24117
White2358
Noble23221
Clinton2321
Decatur22431
Grant21122
Dubois1993
Harrison19422
Henry18211
Greene16924
Vigo1698
Dearborn16821
Monroe16612
Warrick16628
Lawrence16324
Miami1401
Putnam1377
Kosciusko1351
Jennings1304
Orange12822
Scott1203
Franklin1108
Ripley1096
Marshall1082
Carroll932
Daviess8816
Steuben832
Wayne825
LaGrange812
Wabash782
Newton7810
Fayette777
Jasper671
Washington521
Jay520
Clay511
Fulton491
Rush472
Randolph473
Pulaski460
Jefferson451
Whitley423
Starke393
DeKalb371
Sullivan361
Owen351
Brown331
Perry330
Wells320
Benton300
Huntington282
Knox280
Tipton251
Blackford252
Crawford240
Fountain212
Switzerland200
Spencer201
Parke180
Gibson172
Posey160
Adams151
Ohio130
Warren121
Martin110
Vermillion100
Union90
Pike60
Unassigned0167

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

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

Confirmed Cases: 120260

Reported Deaths: 5390
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook779253642
Lake8331291
DuPage7707373
Kane6338178
Will5566276
Winnebago225155
McHenry156672
St. Clair113782
Kankakee91045
Kendall79819
Rock Island65824
Champaign6407
Madison58060
Boone45217
DeKalb4164
Sangamon35129
Jackson28610
Randolph2704
Peoria2339
McLean22013
Ogle2063
Stephenson2062
Macon19319
Clinton18617
Union15411
LaSalle15313
Whiteside14013
Iroquois1324
Coles12715
Out of IL1181
Warren1170
Jefferson10116
Knox1000
Grundy982
Monroe9512
McDonough8811
Unassigned850
Lee811
Cass730
Tazewell735
Henry690
Williamson672
Pulaski560
Marion500
Jasper457
Macoupin452
Adams441
Perry410
Vermilion401
Montgomery391
Morgan361
Christian354
Livingston342
Jo Daviess320
Douglas280
Jersey241
Fayette213
Ford201
Menard200
Woodford192
Mason180
Washington180
Hancock170
Mercer170
Shelby161
Bureau151
Carroll152
Schuyler130
Bond121
Franklin120
Clark110
Crawford110
Fulton110
Moultrie110
Piatt110
Brown100
Cumberland100
Logan100
Wayne91
Alexander80
Henderson80
Johnson80
Effingham71
Massac70
Saline70
Greene50
Marshall50
De Witt40
Lawrence40
Richland30
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Hamilton20
Wabash20
White20
Calhoun10
Edgar10
Hardin10
Pike10
Pope10
Putnam10
Terre Haute
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 71°
Robinson
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 73°
Indianapolis
Scattered Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 68°
Rockville
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 69°
Casey
Broken Clouds
69° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 69°
Brazil
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 71°
Marshall
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 71°
A warm up on the way.
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

Monday Afternoon Weather

Image

Washington Catholic High School

Image

Rules of the roadway will be different for Indiana drivers, new hands-free law in place

Image

Monday: Sunny, warmer. High: 78

Image

Exotic Feline Rescue Center special events canceled

Image

Indiana bowling alleys still closed, business owner prepares

Image

Teen killed in weekend accident remembered at vigil

Image

Duke Energy saving programs

Image

Staying cool this season

Image

Indiana state parks to stay closed

WTHI Events