President Donald Trump shows off a flight jacket he was given after signing a NASA authorization bill into law in 2017. (NASA Photo / Bill Ingalls)
President Donald Trump put the space community on edge today with a tweet that downplayed NASA’s plans to send astronauts to the moon by 2024, as the first step toward a sustainable lunar presence.
Instead, Trump framed the moon program — unveiled by Vice President Mike Pence amid much fanfare less than three months ago — as being merely part of a bigger push to Mars.
At least that’s what he meant to say. The way the tweet was phrased left itself open to all sorts of interpretations, including an obviously misintended claim that the moon was part of the Red Planet:
For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon – We did that 50 years ago. They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part), Defense and Science!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 7, 2019
Ironically, Trump’s dismissal of lunar missions as something that was done 50 years ago echoed ...