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article imageOp-Ed: White House explains Trump's tweet about NASA's moon mission

By Karen Graham     Jun 9, 2019 in Politics
A day after President Donald Trump appeared to cast doubt on NASA’s plans to send humans to the moon, a White House official said the moon remained a goal of the agency’s programs as a step towards Mars.
In a luncheon speech at the National Space Society’s International Space Development Conference in Arlington, Virginia on June 8, Scott Pace, executive secretary of the National Space Council, said that NASA's efforts to return astronauts to the moon by 2024 are still ongoing.
To cover his butt, he added that NASA and the administration should devote more attention to long-term aspirations of human Mars missions. Just so everyone knows, Pace was scheduled to speak at the luncheon long before Trump made his June 7th tweet - again showing just how inconsistent Trump is with anything he says.
The tweet really caused a lot of confusion and Twitter followers had another field day with the phrase, "Mars (of which the Moon is a part).” From outright jokes about flying Trump to Mars, to comments on his failing mind, social media had a field day. Perhaps more worrisome is that 88,000 people liked his tweet, leading many on social media to wonder at the mental stability of some of his followers.
However, our fearless and inept leader does seem to have forgotten what he proclaimed earlier this year. In May, Trump said he planned to allocate an additional $1.6 billion for space exploration and tweeted, “Under my Administration, we are restoring @NASA to greatness and we are going back to the Moon, then Mars,” referring to the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Trump's tweet was followed by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine's announcement that NASA plans to send people to test a flight around the moon by 2022 as the first step in the Artemis program. On the same day as the announcement, the space agency presented an updated budget request to the US Congress, asking for an additional $1.6 billion in funding for the 2024 Artemis Mission.
Even Bridenstein stepped up to protect @POTUS from unwanted derision, tweeting just hours after Trump's tweet: “As @POTUS said, @NASA is using the Moon to send humans to Mars! Right now, @MarsCuriosity and @NASAInSight are on Mars and will soon be joined by the Mars 2020 rover and the Mars helicopter."
We will just have to see what transpires over the additional budget request, number one, and whether or not NASA and its suppliers can get all the infrastructure, rovers and other equipment built in the time-frame ordered by the White House. The rush to get to the moon and Mars is unrealistic, especially when there is a chance something will be missed in the stringent testing process.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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