White House Orders NASA to Prepare for New Missions Across Solar System

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NASA announced that the White House has ordered the administration to work with international partners to develop plans to return to the moon and travel beyond, to the planet Mars.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The White House has ordered NASA to work with international partners to develop plans to return to the moon and travel beyond, to the planet Mars, Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot said in a press release.

"NASA has been directed to develop a plan for an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system, returning humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations," Lightfoot said on Thursday.

Earlier on Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence at the inaugural meeting of the White House’s National Space Council said that within 45 days senior administration officials will submit recommendations on a new US space policy.

During the kick-off meeting Lightfoot discussed programs currently underway, including studying the feasibility of constructing a near earth orbital gateway or outpost that could be a way station for robotic and human missions to the Moon and Mars surfaces.

On September NASA signed a joint statement with the Russian state space corporation, Roscosmos on researching and exploring deep space.

The NASA chief explained in the release that the National Space Council established by Trump will streamline, centralize and coordinate national space policy.

Trump resurrected the National Space Council in June, after it was disbanded by former President George H.W. Bush in 1993.

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