As Donald J. Trump approaches nearly one year in office as President of the United States, he has ordered the US Space agency, NASA, to put humans back on the Moon.

President Trump said in his announcement on December 2017: “The directive I’m signing today will refocus America’s space program on human exploration and discovery. It marks an important step in returning American astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972 for long-term exploration and use. This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprint, we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars. And perhaps, someday, to many worlds beyond. This directive will ensure America’s space program once again leads and inspires all of humanity. The pioneer spirit has always defined America, and we’re picking that up in many other fields. I think you see that. I think it’s obvious. All you have to do is look at what’s happening with the markets and all of the great things that are happening. We’re leading in many different fields again, and it’ll get more and more obvious as you go along.”

Comment by David Todd: Trump is wrong on many things… but not on everything. And this counts as one of his more sensible policies. Mars is too far off to be achievable any time soon for NASA – albeit that it should remain an eventual target – probably via Elon Musk’s plan. The Moon is much closer and much more accessible, and would yield the exploratory excitement so lacking in the Space Shuttle and International Space Station era. With few Apollo astronauts left – and getting fewer – there was a danger than moonwalking would soon leave living memory.

Buzz Aldrin is photographed on Moon by Neil Armstrong (seen in Aldrin’s helmet visor) during Apollo 11’s lunar walk. Courtesy: NASA