President Trump is channeling another beloved former president this week. More than 50 years later, he is honoring the bold vision of President John F. Kennedy. Trump wants to send Americans back to the moon. And that isn’t the only place the president is aiming to explore.
On September 12, 1962, JFK spoke to a crowd of thousands at Rice University football stadium in Houston, Texas. Before a group of 35,000, the nation’s 35th president announced that America would join and win the race to outer space.
“We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard,” said Kennedy. “That goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win…”
In June of 1969, almost six years after Kennedy’s death, astronaut Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. While JFK didn’t live to see his dream become reality, his legacy continued on in the annals of American history. It’s a legacy that President Trump intends to revive.
To the Moon and Back
The president authorized current NASA acting-administrator Robert Lightfoot Jr. to create a new space exploration plan. Sending “American astronauts back to the moon, and eventually Mars,” is the focus of the directive. Vice-President Mike Pence and several retired astronauts joined Trump at the White House signing ceremony.
At the ceremony, President Trump suggested the initiative is crucial to moving America forward. “The directive I’m signing today will refocus America’s space program on human exploration and discovery,” he said. “It marks an important step in returning American astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972 for long-term exploration and use.”
The NASA directive is also a step towards reversing cuts made to the program by Barack Obama. In his first inaugural speech, he vowed that “the days of science taking a back seat to ideology are over.”
Not surprisingly, after forming a presidential commission to study the program, Obama concluded the cost for space exploration was too steep. After being harshly criticized for the decision, Obama later announced at Kennedy Space Center that America would get to Mars within 30 years.
Listen to JFK challenge NASA to get to the moon: