Trump reverses course, says Mars, not moon, should be NASA's priority

Eloise Marshall
June 10, 2019

Hours after NASA announced it will allow private companies and astronauts to use the International Space Station as the agency continues to focus on returning Americans to the moon in the coming years, President Donald Trump blasted the agency in a strongly worded tweet.

The astronauts are yet to decipher on what exactly the US President meant when he called moon as a part of the Mars, though some are aligning it with the NASA's ambitions of setting up a space outpost in the moon that will send humans to Mars.

Despite the odd phrasing, Trump could be referring to NASA's plan to eventually get to Mars from the moon since the journey to the red planet will be hard.

Trump's moon tweet was just one of a series of outbursts on subjects ranging from immigration and trade to congressional investigations, and he soon moved on to hailing the stock market's performance this week (after a series of downward-trending weeks).

CLOSE NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine, on the new lunar program "Artemis".

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President Donald Trump doesn't appear to have a solid idea on what his administration's plan for space exploration is.

"Moon is part of Mars is going to lead to moon truthers and Qanon people joining forces", reporter Yashar Ali jokingly predicted.

Mars has two moons - Phobos and Deimos - however, the Moon which orbits the Earth is not a part of the Red Planet.

The accelerated timetable to land humans on the moon by 2024 ran into early trouble when the Trump administration asked a skeptical Congress in May to increase NASA's 2020 budget proposal by $1.6 billion as a "down payment" to accommodate the accelerated goal. NASA's website also provides details that the lunar mission will be the initial point for the future Mars missions. "This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprints - we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars, and perhaps someday, to many worlds beyond". Bridenstine seems to be interpreting Trump's message as a push to focus on the moon as a stepping stone for reaching Mars.

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