"And from the foundation of the Moon, America will be the first nation to bring mankind to Mars".
For now, it's unknown how this destination shift will affect NASA's long-term plans.
In a statement today, US Vice President Mike Pence stated that NASA will once again put people on the moon, though no time frame for this planned project was given.
Now, Pence says, is the time to recognize that 'in the absence of American leadership, other nations have seized the opportunity to stake their claim in the infinite frontier'.
Pence, who has been meeting with NASA researchers at centers across the country for the past few months, said he was humbled to be the chairman for the revived council.
At its first meeting in a quarter-century Thursday, the recently-resurrected National Space Council met with Vice President Mike Pence to discuss the USA space agenda's aim to send astronauts "to Mars and beyond".
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Above all, Pence stressed that the United States would lead in space again under the Trump administration. This "means establishing a renewed American presence on the moon, a vital strategic goal". And they're promising that in five years, astronauts could be working around the moon - but not quite land there yet. It will be chaired by Vice President Mike Pence and include participation by acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot, as well as a number of Trump Administration cabinet members and senior officials, and aerospace industry leaders.
'According to the USA intelligence community, Russian Federation and China are pursuing a full range of anti-satellite technology to reduce US military effectiveness, and they are increasingly considering attacks against satellite systems as part of their future warfare doctrine'.
"The current plan is to use these vehicles to build a space station in the vicinity of the Moon, known as the Deep Space Gateway, where astronauts can train and then depart for missions to Mars", the site said.
After talking about how "we will blaze new trails into that great frontier" Pence turned the discussion to the dangers of space and how much of the USA intelligence system and day-to-day life are dependent on commercial satellites operating safely.
David Thompson, president of the space company Orbital ATK, said NASA's Orion capsule and super-sized Space Launch System rocket should be ready in a couple years, so flying around the moon and even making a lunar orbiting outpost is within reach.