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NASA Wants the Moon Again (and Mars, Too!) As Agency Turns 60

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NASA Wants the Moon Again (and Mars, Too!) As Agency Turns 60

Postby MrFredPFL » Mon Oct 01, 2018 3:28 pm

Story :

The United States is working to put boots back on the moon, as the nation did during the Apollo era nearly five decades ago, NASA chief Jim Bridenstine stressed during a video message to commemorate the agency's 60th birthday today (Oct. 1).

"President [Dwight] Eisenhower launched our nation into the space age, and President [John F.] Kennedy gave us the charge to reach the moon," Bridenstine said in the 2-minute video. "We celebrate our legacy today with great promise and a direction from the president to return to the moon and go on to Mars."

Bridenstine was referring to Space Policy Directive 1 (SPD 1), which President Donald Trump signed in December of 2017. SPD 1 instructs NASA to send people back to the moon, but not in the flags-and-footprints manner of Apollo. Rather, the moon is to serve as a stepping stone toward more-distant destinations, especially the Red Planet.

In response to SPD 1, NASA has drawn up plans for a small, moon-orbiting space station called the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, which the agency plans to start building in 2022. If all goes according to plan, the Gateway will be ready to accommodate astronauts by the mid-2020s; crews could make sorties from this outpost down to the lunar surface before that decade is over, NASA officials have said.

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