President Donald Trump today signed a space policy directive that calls on NASA to establish an outpost on the moon and send astronauts onward to Mars and beyond, but leaves the “how” and the “how much” for later.
Trump invoked the legacy of the Apollo space program during the Oval Office signing ceremony. And to emphasize that connection, the White House brought in Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, the former senator and astronaut who was part of the last Apollo mission in 1972.
“Today, we pledge that he will not be the last, and I suspect we’ll be finding other places to land in addition to the moon,” Trump said. “What do you think, Jack?”
“Yes, we should,” Schmitt replied. “Learn from the moon.”
The memorandum known as Space Policy Directive 1 codifies the moon as NASA’s next big target for human spaceflight. That policy reverses President Barack Obama’s 2010 decision to focus on visiting a near-Earth asteroid, and is more in line with the back-to-the-moon vision that President George W. Bush laid out in 2004.