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Trump Signs New Directive to Facilitate Manned Lunar, Mars Exploration Missions

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President Donald Trump has signed a new directive that would direct the NASA administrator to oversee an exploration program with the private sector and international partners to facilitate the return of humans to the Moon.

The Space Policy Directive 1 signed at the White House Monday aims to establish a framework to advance human exploration missions to Mars and seeks to end a planned mission to an asteroid, NASA said Tuesday.

The new policy emerged from an Oct. 5 meeting held by the National Space Council led by Vice President Mike Pence.

Trump signed an executive order in July to relaunch the council in order to help execute his administration’s space policy.

“NASA looks forward to supporting the president’s directive strategically aligning our work to return humans to the Moon, travel to Mars and opening the deeper solar system beyond,” said Robert Lightfoot, acting NASA administrator.

NASA said it plans to include work on the new directive in its fiscal 2019 budget proposal next year.

Personalities who were present at the signing ceremony include NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Peggy Whitson as well as retired astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Harrison “Jack” Schmitt.

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