Earlier today, President Trump unveiled a budget update which boosts NASA’s spending by $1.6billion to return to the Moon. “Under my Administration, we are restoring NASA to greatness and we are going back to the Moon, then Mars.” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine welcomed the budget increase, saying, “This is the boost NASA needs to move forward with putting the next man and the first woman on the Moon. Thank you, President Trump!” Bridenstine added that this $1.6billion figure serves as a “down payment” to move forward with design, development & exploration with the goal of bringing men and women back to the surface of the moon by 2024. In addition to funding for a human lunar landing system, it also helps fund robotic exploration of the Moon’s polar regions.
NASA says the name for this updated Moon mission will be “Artemis.” According to Greek mythology, Artemis was the daughter of Leto and Zeus, and the twin of Apollo. She is the goddess of the wilderness, the hunt and wild animals, and fertility; Artemis is also considered as one of the helpers of midwives as a goddess of birth. The original Moon landing project was known as the “Apollo Mission.” Bridenstine says Artemis will bring not only men to the Moon, but women too. “We’re excited to be landing the first woman and next man on the surface of the Moon by 2024,” he said today.
In December of 2017, President Trump issued a directive to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to send American astronauts back to the moon and eventually to Mars, shifting the agency’s mission from the study of Earth and a longer-range plan to explore Mars. This marked a significant shift in space policy from the Obama administration, who had cut investment into human space flight to fund more climate change related work.
“Imagine the possibility waiting in those big beautiful stars if we dare to dream big. That’s what our country is doing again, we’re dreaming big,” the President said. “This is a giant step toward that inspiring future and toward reclaiming America’s proud destiny in space and space has so much to do with so many other applications including a military application.”
In June of 2017, President Trump signed an executive order re-establishing the National Space Council, a space policy advisory body that was last active some 25 years ago. Vice President Pence serves as Chairman of the National Space Council.