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. "This time we will not only plan on flag and leave our footprint". It marks a first step in returning American astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972...
"This afternoon, President Donald J. Trump will tell the country that it's time to refocus our vision for American space exploration".
"NASA looks forward to supporting the president's directive strategically aligning our work to return humans to the moon, travel to Mars and opening the deeper solar system beyond", said acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot in a statement.
Experts say sending people to Mars, which lies an average of 140 million miles (225 million kilometres) from Earth, would require a massive cash investment and vast technical development.
There is bipartisan support for further space exploration but parties disagree over the timeline and budget. However, Space Policy Directive 1 is now only an empty order without the funds to back it up.
The schedule didn't provide additional details about the event or the document, but a White House official later confirmed that the directive is linked to human space exploration policy.
Harrison Schmitt, the most recent living human to walk on Earth's satellite, was present at the signing, which happened 45 years to the minute after he landed on the Moon.
On July 20, 1969, USA astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon.
Former US president George W. Bush also pledged to send Americans to the Moon as part of the Constellation program.
The new administration has previously held several meetings with SpaceX boss Elon Musk and Amazon owner Jeff Bezos, who also owns Blue Origin.
"The next generation will dream even bigger and reach higher as we launch challenging new missions, and make new discoveries and technological breakthroughs on this dynamic path", he said.