Trump criticizes NASA moon mission after promoting it earlier

Donald Trump says 'the Moon is a part of Mars' in latest tweet

Trump criticizes NASA moon mission after promoting it earlier

Flip-flopping a mere three weeks after declaring his administration's intention to stage of a revival of the moon landing, Trump declared that NASA should focus on "Mars (of which the moon is part)". "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".

President and amateur astronomer Donald Trump took a moment Friday afternoon to opine on Twitter about the future of space travel.

President Donald Trump holds a plastic astronaut figurine given to him by Apollo 17 astronaut and former U.S. Senator Jack Schmitt during a signing ceremony for "Space Policy Directive 1" in the Roosevelt Room at the White House December 11, 2017, in Washington, D.C. Trump wanted NASA to go back to the moon but appeared to change his mind in favor of Mars after watching a Fox Business Network segment.

"At the direction of the president of the United States, it is the stated policy of this administration and the United States of America to return American astronauts to the moon within the next five years", Pence said.

There were several unclear aspects of the message, not least of which was Trump's description of Mars "of which the Moon is a part". In making the announcement NASA officials reiterated the goal of returning humans to the moon by 2024. This interpretation seems at odds with what comes across as a downplaying of NASA's moon mission.

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During his March speech at Marshall, Pence said that "after years of cost overruns and slipped deadlines, we're actually being told that the earliest we can get back to the moon is 2028. We're better than that". 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.

When asked about the tweet, a NASA media relations specialist pointed CNET to a response tweet by NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine.

To make matters even murkier, Trump seemed pretty gung-ho about going to the moon just a month ago. In the coming years, we will need additional funds.

On its website, NASA, which made six manned Apollo missions to the Moon between 1969 and 1972, says that "exploration of the Moon and Mars is intertwined".

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