It's Time to Send Americans to the Moon Again

President Trump holds up an astronaut toy alongside former US Senator and Apollo 17 Astronaut Jack Schmitt, right, after a signing ceremony for Space Policy Directive 1, with the aim of returning Americans to the Moon.

On the 45th anniversary of Apollo 17 - the last crewed mission to the moon - Trump signed the order directing NASA 'to lead an innovative space exploration program to send American astronauts back to the Moon, and eventually Mars, ' according White House spokesman Hogan Gidley.

The directive calls on NASA to ramp up its efforts to send people to deep space, a policy that unites politicians on both sides of the aisle in the United States.

Trump's announcement essentially revives goals that former President George W. Bush announced in 2004.

"The directive I'm signing today will refocus America's space program on human exploration and discovery", Trump said during the ceremony.

"We will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars and perhaps someday to many worlds beyond".

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The last time U.S. astronauts visited the Moon was during the Apollo missions of the 1960s and 1970s.

Nasa said in a statement that the new policy would scrap its mission to send humans to an asteroid. It marks a first step in returning American astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972...

Budget problems has been on ongoing issue for NASA for years.

In September, Trump nominated Representative Jim Bridenstine, a Republican from Oklahoma, to be the next NASA administrator. Statements from administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, has have made clear their interest in human lunar missions.

SpaceX launches rockets for customers including Nasa, commercial satellite operators and the American military.

After the shuttle program ended, Nasa turned to private industry to fill in the gap. The Apollo 17 lunar lander touched down on the moon on December 11, 1972.