Published: Sat, June 08, 2019
Science | By

Trump criticizes NASA moon mission after promoting it earlier

Trump criticizes NASA moon mission after promoting it earlier

US President Donald Trump has scolded NASA for focusing on a return trip to the moon and insisted that Mars was a better destination.

Ironically, Trump's dismissal of lunar missions as something that was done 50 years ago echoed what his predecessor in the White House, Barack Obama, said when he chose to drop the Constellation back-to-the-moon program in 2010: "We've been there before". "They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part), Defense and Science!" the president wrote on Friday.

"The Moon provides an opportunity to test new tools, instruments and equipment that could be used on Mars, including human habitats, life support systems, and technologies and practices that could help us build self-sustaining outposts away from Earth", it says.

U.S. President Donald Trump receives a NASA jacket during a signing ceremony for S442, the NASA transition authorization act, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 21, 2017.

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

"I don't think he's too much aware of Mars", Collins opined of Trump.


NASA has organized its crewed lunar plans into a program called Artemis, which includes the construction of a small, moon-orbiting space station known as the Gateway.

The administration already had established a return to the moon as the focus of NASA's deep space exploration program in Space Policy Directive No. 1, signed by the president during a White House ceremony on December 11, 2017.

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When asked about the tweet, a NASA media relations specialist pointed CNET to a response tweet by NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine. On Friday he tweeted dismissively about NASA's upcoming moon missions - something he celebrated just last month. Bridenstine seems to be interpreting Trump's message as a push to focus on the moon as a stepping stone for reaching Mars.

NASA managers had no immediate comment on the president's latest tweet.

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