President Trump announced that he wants NASA to send American astronauts back to the moon and then on to the planet Mars.

President Donald Trump signed Space Policy Directive 1 on Monday, directing NASA to return Americans to the surface of the moon and onward to Mars.

The order declares NASA must lead U.S. astronauts in “an innovative space exploration program.” The announcement continues the White House push to end dependence on Russia for manned launches, which began when the space shuttle program retired six years ago.

“It marks an important step in returning American astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972 for long-term exploration and use,” Trump said during the signing. “This time we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprint. We will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars and, perhaps, someday, to many worlds beyond.”- CNBC

It has been 45 years since American astronauts last landed on the moon with the Apollo 17 mission.

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Featured image from Apollo 15, taken by Commander David Scott at the end of EVA-1. Lunar Module Pilot Jim Irwin is seen with the Lunar Roving Vehicle, with Mount Hadley in the background. NASA photo.

Apollo 15, taken by Commander David Scott at the end of EVA-1. Lunar Module Pilot Jim Irwin lunar rover