Trump wants to send man back to the moon - and eventually Mars

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US President Donald Trump directed NASA on Monday to send Americans to the Moon for the first time since 1972, in order to prepare for future trips to Mars.

Mr Trump has signed a policy directive instructing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to "refocus America's space program on human exploration and discovery".

Trump vowed his new directive "will refocus the space program on human exploration and discovery". The Trump administration takes this stance, as explained by Vice President Pence in October.

The President said he was taking a giant step toward "reclaiming America's proud destiny in space".

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

"This is the first step in a very long process", John Logsdon, founder and former director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, said in an interview.

Harrison "Jack" Schmitt, the last living astronaut who was a part of the Apollo 17 mission, was also present at the ceremony.

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The three countries also said those committing, organising, inciting or supporting terrorist acts must be held accountable and brought to justice.

The White House didn't provide details about how NASA's work to return to the moon would be funded, or whether any current programs would be cut. "It's been 45 years since we've been to the moon, and a lot of people have a lot of ideas".

Budget problems has been on ongoing issue for NASA for years.

SpaceX launches rockets for customers including Nasa, commercial satellite operators and the American military.

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.

In 2009, then president Barack Obama deemed it too costly and repetitive of missions already achieved, and canceled the program in order to focus on reaching Mars by the 2030s.

The president "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. It is known that Pence too, in the past, has expressed interest in human lunar missions and had also spoken about how the moon was the foundation to build and strengthen worldwide partnerships.

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