On December 11th 2018, President Donald Trump signed his administration’s first space policy directive that formally directs NASA to focus on returning humans to the moon and then Mars. NASA also announced that there are plans to send human astronauts to Mars, which will include a stop at the moon where the agency may build a facility currently being called the Deep Space Gateway. This dream like structure will serve as a way station between the Earth and the Red Planet.
NASA’s acting administrator, Robert Lightfoot, said he thinks the new directive could provide “a sense of urgency” to NASA’s spaceflight pursuits. He noted that there are “a lot of people that want to help NASA” reach those goals. NASA officials said that the directive also officially ends NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM). This would have sent robotic probes, followed by man, to an asteroid. The Space Policy Directive 1 will more effectively organize government, private industry, and international efforts toward returning humans to the Moon. This will also lay the foundation to eventually enable human exploration on Mars.
This all sounds too good to be true, but the power, skill, and ability to do so in currently in our hands. Yesterday, April 11th 2019, SpaceX successfully launched its new Falcon Heavy rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Now the world’s most powerful operation rocket with 27 engines firing at liftoff. As you’ll see in the video below, only eight minutes after liftoff, the Falcon Heavy landed two of the first-stage boosters back at Cape Canaveral, side by side. Two minutes later, the core booster landed on an ocean platform hundreds of miles offshore.
This exciting step in our space program now gives us the ability to land and take off with the same ship. It’s only a matter of time before the USS Enterprise take mankind to Mars.