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Trump orders NASA to return to Moon

Sky News logo Sky News 11/12/2017

Video provided by Associated Press

The US President has ordered NASA to plan a new manned mission to the Moon, 45 years after the last one - Apollo 17.

Donald Trump has signed a policy directive "to lead an innovative space exploration programme to send American astronauts back to the moon, and eventually Mars".

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley made the announcement which was followed by a speech by Mr Trump.

He was joined by one of the first men to land on the Moon, Buzz Aldrin, and Harrison Schmitt, known as "Jack", who is the last living crew member of the Apollo 17 mission, which landed in 1972.

At the White House, Mr Trump said: "Forty-five years ago, almost to the minute, Jack became one of the last Americans to land on the Moon.

"Today we pledge that he will not be the last, and I suspect we will be finding some other places to land other than the Moon.

Donald Trump in the White House (24 March 2017) © AP Photo Donald Trump "The directive I am signing today will refocus the space programme on human exploration and discovery.

"It is an important step in returning American astronauts to the Moon, for the first time since 1972 for long time 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."

He said the mission would inspire others and showed NASA would keep the pioneer spirit alive.

He added: "Today the same spirit beckons us to begin new journeys of exploration and discovery, to lift our eyes all the way up to the heavens and imagine the possibilities waiting in those big beautiful stars if we dream big.

"This is a giant step towards that inspiring future and reclaiming America's proud destination in space."

Mr Trump said America was the leader and would remain the leader.

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