United States to send astronauts back to the Moon, "Mars and beyond"

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Trump's signing ceremony for the directive included former lunar astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Harrison Schmitt and current astronaut Peggy Whitson, whose 665 days in orbit is more time in space than any other American and any other woman worldwide.

"This is a giant step toward that inspiring future", Mr. Trump said.

'This time we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprint, ' he said.

He signed the directive at the White House Monday.

He said the directive turns the focus of the nation's space program to "human exploration and discovery".

NASA recently announced that for human astronauts, the path to Mars will include a stop at the moon, where the agency may build a facility now being called the Deep Space Gateway.

Even though much is being said about Donald Trump and how accusations of sexual misconduct against him could lead to his impeachment, the United States president seems unfazed and has been going around fulfilling his presidential duties.

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Acting NASA administrator Robert Lightfoot said the space agency is looking forward to supporting the President's directive, "strategically aligning our work to return humans to the Moon, travel to Mars and opening the deeper solar system beyond". "Imagine the possibilities waiting in those big, handsome stars if we dare to dream big".

The goal of the new Moon missions would include "long-term exploration and use" of its surface.

On July 20, 1969, U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon. Statements from administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, has have made clear their interest in human lunar missions.

"Unless this administration is taking a second term for granted, time is running out for it to meaningfully change the course of the USA spaceflight program", the website wrote, adding that "the next president could just as easily switch course away from the moon".

"We will engage the best and brightest across government and private industry and our partners across the world to reach new milestones in human achievement".

The recommendations were made by the National Space Council, which had earlier been shut down but was re-established in June on Trump's orders.

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