Today marks the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 17 landing, the last time humans were on the Moon. That was back in 1972, but it looks like we could be back sooner (in space time, not Earth time) than later.
President Donald Trump is directing NASA to get astronauts back on the Moon as part of a broader plan to travel to Mars. Space Policy Directive-1, the order this plan is a part of, was signed on Monday by Trump. It represents a shift in focus from Mars to the Moon, at least for the time being, and a shift from the priorities of the Obama administration.
Trump claimed the move will re-establish America as a leader in space, as well as boost jobs and national security. “This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprint," Trump said. "We will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars and perhaps someday to many worlds beyond.” Proponents of this approach see the Moon as a potential testing ground for technologies to be used on Mars.