American astronauts are headed back to the moon and eventually to Mars.
“The directive I’m signing today will refocus America’s space program on human exploration and discovery,” President Trump said December 11. “This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprint, we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars. And perhaps, someday, to many worlds beyond.”
On hand for the signing: NASA astronaut Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, who landed on the moon 45 years to the minute before President Trump signed the new policy directive. Of living astronauts, Schmitt most recently set foot on the moon.
Other NASA astronauts attending the announcement included Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, the second person to walk on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission, and Peggy Whitson, the world’s oldest and most experienced spacewoman.
Trump’s White House space directive also calls for NASA, the U.S. space agency, to work with international partners and private space companies. The National Space Council, an organization led by Vice President Pence that guides U.S. space policy, made the recommendations.
“The pioneer spirit has always defined America, and we’re picking that up in many other fields,” the president said. “Today, the same spirit beckons us to begin new journeys of exploration and discovery.”