Published: Sat, June 08, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Trump says Nasa should stop talking about going back to the Moon

Trump says Nasa should stop talking about going back to the Moon

"They should be focused on the much bigger things we are going, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part), Defense and Science!"

At least that's what he meant to say.

President Donald Trump sparked a Twitter uproar on Friday with a confusingly-phrased tweet that initially gave the impression he believed the moon was part of Mars.

Trump's tweet on NASA came shortly after a segment on Fox Business in which NASA's chief financial officer Jeff DeWitt discussed NASA's initiatives on the moon and their planned moon expedition in 2024 with host Neil Cavuto.

Trump's directive was in response to a recommendation by the National Space Council, headed by Vice President Mike Pence, who's been pushing the moon goal over the past 18 months.

In what would otherwise be considered a welcome break from attacks on Bette Midler, rants about the Mueller report, and tweets filled with racist agitprop, Trump expressed a seemingly left-field desire to explore new frontiers in the solar system.

NASA subsequently began refining long-range plans to assemble a mini space station called Gateway in orbit around the moon in the mid 2020s and to return astronauts to the lunar surface by 2028.

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Like the phases of the moon, it seems that US President Donald Trump is capable of showing us any variation between extremes that he wants.

"Under my Administration, we are restoring @NASA to greatness and we are going back to the Moon, then Mars", Trump tweeted at the time.

At a ceremony where Trump signed a directive regarding the policy two months later, he said first returning to the moon would "establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars, and perhaps someday, to many worlds beyond".

However, it is likely that Trump's "Mars (of which the Moon is a part)" comment referred to NASA's talking point that going to the moon again would help efforts to later reach Mars.

"As JFK famously said, "We choose to go to the Moon not because it is easy, but because it is Mars, '" 'Daily Show" employee Jason O. Gilbert joked.

In public documents, Nasa has argued that "exploration of the Moon and Mars is intertwined".

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