Humankind took steps on the moon for the first time in 1969, and now vice president Mike Pence says it’s time to go back. He penned an opinion editorial piece for The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) stating “America will lead in space again,” and also spoke on the topic at the first meeting of the revived National Space Council in Virginia at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.


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This isn’t the first time Pence has hinted at a return to the moon. He talked about the idea back in July at the Kennedy Space Center. At the National Space Council meeting, he said, “We will return NASA astronauts to the Moon – not only to leave behind footprints and flags, but to build the foundation, we need to send Americans to Mars and beyond.”

Related: Pence vows America will put ‘boots on the face of Mars’ in near future

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The Verge pointed out this would mark a shift for NASA, which since 2010 has concentrated on sending humans to Mars without a return to the moon. They said the goal of a presence on the moon surface is a return to President George W. Bush’s vision. Pence described the move to go back as a vital strategic goal, saying NASA should refocus on human exploration and discovery.

NASA acting administrator Robert Lightfoot said in a statement, “The National Space Council acknowledged the strategic importance of cis-lunar space – the region around the moon – which will serve as a proving ground for missions to Mars and beyond and advance our stepping stone approach to going farther into the solar system.”

Pence also said according to the intelligence community, China and Russia are developing antisatellite technology, saying in his article, “We will renew America’s commitment to creating the space technology needed to protect national security.”

The vice president did look ahead to the red planet in his WSJ article, saying, “America will be the first nation to bring mankind to Mars.”

Via The Verge

Images via NASA and Wikimedia Commons