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Trump says NASA shouldn't be talking about return to Moon

08 June 2019

President Donald Trump on Friday upended his long-stated goal of returning American astronauts to the moon by the end of a potential second term, instead saying his federal space agency should focus instead on the further reaches of space.

Yes folks, that is Trump seemingly claiming the Moon is a part of Mars - an entirely different planet in our solar system.

"For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon - We did that 50 years ago", he wrote on Twitter as he jetted back to Washington from Ireland.

There is wide speculation about Trump's latest tweet.

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Flip-flopping a mere three weeks after declaring his administration's intention to stage of a revival of the moon landing, Trump declared that NASA should focus on "Mars (of which the moon is part)".

Matthew Gertz from Media Matters thinks the tweet was prompted by a Fox Business broadcast from roughly one hour before the tweet, in which Neil Cavuto questioned why NASA would want to return somewhere they explored 50 years ago. But his off-the-cuff advice to stop talking about the moon may make things a little tricky for the witnesses at next Tuesday's congressional hearing on space science - and for Bridenstine and other NASA officials who are trying to build support for the Artemis program among congressional skeptics.

The tweet is at odds with a directive Trump signed in December 2017 to send US astronauts back to the moon for the first time since 1972. That funding didn't come through.

On its website, NASA, which made six manned Apollo missions to the Moon between 1969 and 1972, says that "exploration of the Moon and Mars is intertwined".

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"As JFK famously said, "We choose to go to the Moon not because it is easy, but because it is Mars, '" 'Daily Show" employee Jason O. Gilbert joked. On Friday he tweeted dismissively about NASA's upcoming moon missions - something he celebrated just last month.

Last month, the president said he wanted to include an additional $1.6 billion in his budget so the United States could "return to Space in a BIG WAY!"

There are probably some frantic emails flying between NASA headquarters and the White House right now.

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Trump says NASA shouldn't be talking about return to Moon