It was only a couple of months ago that Donald Trump sent Mike Pence to deliver a directive to NASA, publicly commanding the space agency to return crewed missions to the Moon within the next five years.
The Moon 2024 mission is going to cost a ton of money that NASA doesn’t have, and it’ll take a near miracle for the agency to pull it off, but it’s been doing its best to drum up support for a return to the lunar surface. Then, a few days ago, Trump fired off a tweet that threw it all into question.
The tweet — the president’s favorite form of communication — made little sense to anyone, and absolutely zero sense to those who follow NASA news.
The obvious joke about the Moon being “a part” of Mars aside, Trump just straight up says NASA shouldn’t be talking about going to the Moon… despite the fact that that’s exactly what his administration told NASA to do. Now, Trump-appointed NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine has finally addressed the concerns, and it comes out exactly how you’d expect.
Speaking to a crowd at NASA’s Glenn Research Center, Bridenstine essentially waves his hand at the suggestion that anything is amiss with NASA’s Moon 2024 plans. Bridenstine claimed that the White House’s support for missions to the Moon has not changed, and that it’s all a big misunderstanding related to NASA’s CFO appearing on a “business news program.” The explanation happens at the 25:10 mark in the video above.
“Some people have tried to read more into this than there is,” Bridenstine claims. “But here’s the thing: We’re going to Mars, the Moon is a waypoint.”
Bridenstine then emphasized the need for NASA to learn how to live and work on another world before venturing all the way to a neighboring planet, which makes the Moon the perfect testbed for a variety of new technologies.
So, there you have it. The president tweeted that NASA should shut up about the Moon because a news anchor “got bogged down” in how much money we’re spending to get there.