The priorities of NASA when looking into the future of space exploration are subject to change. The Bush administration in 2004 announced the Vision for Space Exploration, and this asked for rockets to return astronauts to the moon. This was then taken over by the NASA Authorization Act of 2010, and this gave outlines of plans to send human beings to an asteroid in 2025 and by 2030 to Mars.
Plans Laid Out By Administration For Going Back To Moon Says, VP Mike Pence
VP Pence Says Priorities Have Changed
Now the Vice President Mike Pence along with many members of the Trump administration has revealed priorities have changed again and instead of a journey to Mars, the administration has now set their sights on taking crewed missions to the Moon once again along with setting up a permanent presence on the surface of the Moon.
This announcement came at the inaugural meeting of National Space Council. This is s group that is newly-established that is going to guide the US policy over the years to come. It had been established originally in 1989 by George H.W. Bush, but then in 1993, it was disbanded by Clinton. The council is going to be serving the same purpose as that of the National Aeronautics and Space Council.
The meeting was held at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Virginia, and Mike Pence chaired it with help from Robert Lightfoot, the NASA Administrator. It was also attended by Donald Trump’s administration cabinet members, aerospace industry leaders and senior officials.
Pence Wants To Restore NASA As Leaders In Space
Throughout the meeting, Mike Pence laid out plans of the administrator for taking astronauts back to the Moon. He emphasized the need to be able to restore NASA and the leadership of the US in space. Pence made a comparison to the early years of the Space Race and today and the achievement of the Apollo 11 mission.
A statement said that it was fitting that the week had been chosen for holding the first of the National Space Council meetings as it was the 60th anniversary of Sputnik. It was on that day that the race for space started, six decades ago. While the Soviets took the lead, the US claimed their place and one giant leap for mankind led America into space.
Re-establishment Of National Space Council Ends Stalled Space Exploration
Pence had indicated that by re-establishing the National Space Council he would put an end to how space exploration had stalled over the recent decades and said how returning to the Moon is one goal that diminished in the post-Apollo era but which would be recaptured and go on to reinvigorate modern day space exploration.
Pence said that a new interest in missions to the Moon would end the decades that not one single astronaut from NASA had gone beyond Low Earth orbit. He also gave an indication how following the retirement of the Space Shuttle Program the United States became dependent on Russia to take astronauts to the International Space Station.
Revelation Ends Months Of Speculation About Space Policy Of Trump
The new policy does seem to break from the policy brought in by the Obama administration, and it goes back to the one from the Bush administration. Pence said that by returning astronauts to the moon, they would be taking a much-needed step towards eventually sending a crewed mission to Mars. The revelation also ended many months of ambiguity about the space policy of Donald Trump. Pence has, in the past, talked about the need for men to return to the Moon but nothing came from it. NASA has always been somewhat unsure about the future budget. The meeting didn’t indicate as to the fact that the Trump administration does have a policy but a lot of aspects had been in place before the administration took over.
When the meeting had come to an end, the administrator of NASA Robert Lightfoot opened up about the results in a press statement from NASA. It was said that NASA was directed to come up with a plan for a sustainable and innovative program of exploration with both international and commercial partners that would allow humans to expand the solar system and ensure the return of humans to the Moon both for utilization and long-term exploration.
$19.5 billion in the fund has been allocated to NASA for guaranteeing stability over the short-term in the fiscal year 2017. Lightfoot said that the meeting to send men back to the Moon had helped in assisting the efforts of NASA to send manned crews to Mars.