Trump reverses course, says Mars, not moon, should be NASA's priority

Trump claims Moon ‘is a part’ of Mars in cryptic space tweet

US President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that NASA should stop talking about going back to the Moon, which caused confusion since his administration aims to restart Moon landings by 2024.

Vice President Mike Pence announced plans in April to return to the Moon by 2024 although some space experts doubt whether the deadline can be met.

Trump's exact meaning was uncertain, but he may have been urging the United States space agency to put more of a focus on the voyage to Mars, with the Moon serving as just a stepping stone.

To make the whole thing even better, it helps to know that just last month, Trump himself approved funding to send American astronauts to the moon within the next five years and was harping on about how great NASA is on Twitter.

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.

There is wide speculation about Trump's latest tweet.

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

NASA's Apollo program landed the first men on the moon 50 years ago on July 20.

"I don't think he's too much aware of Mars", Collins opined of Trump. NASA has been energized by the lunar return mission, but the price now seems a possible threat to other NASA programs. Under NASA's plan, as many as two private astronauts per year could fly to the station and stay for up to 30 days on the space station - something estimated to cost $50 million per seat, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

"I am updating my budget to include an additional $1.6 billion so that we can return to Space in a BIG WAY!" he said.

Mars acquires the Moon and a satellite to be named later from Earth in exchange for Phobos, Deimos, and an asteroid. On Friday he tweeted dismissively about NASA's upcoming moon missions - something he celebrated just last month.

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