Trump signs new space policy directive to send Americans to Moon, Mars

Last Updated Dec 11, 2017 5:50 PM EST

President Trump signed a new directive at the White House on Monday, aimed at furthering the administration's efforts in advancing space exploration for future missions to the Moon and Mars. 

The order now directs the NASA Administrator to lead an innovative space exploration program to send American astronauts back to the Moon, and eventually Mars.

During Monday's order signing, Mr. Trump said the action will "refocus America's space program on human exploration and discovery."

"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, with Apollo 17 moonwalker Harrison Schmitt, Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin and other key space program officials looking on.

He added, "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, Mr. Trump signed an executive order re-establishing the long dormant National Space Council, a space policy advisory body that was last active some 25 years ago.

Vice President Mike Pence, chairman of the council, has since had vowed to renew American leadership in the form of the nation's space program. 

At Monday's event, Pence applauded the president's order, saying that "signing the space policy directive" it will ensure "America will lead in space once again."

Pence said the order will "enhance our national security and our capacity to provide for the common defense of the people of the United States."

"You are ensuring Mr. President, that America will lead in space in the future and for generations to come," he added.

 

  • Emily Tillett

    Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital