On Friday, President Trump published a tweet berating NASA for talking about the very Moon mission his administration thrust upon the space agency. Trump’s public shaming of the agency doesn’t appear to be about its public talks related to the effort, but rather is an attack directed at the lunar mission itself…the same mission his administration has made its main focus.
The tweet, which was published midday on June 7, has left many confused. The Trump administration has been very clear in its desire to return humans to the Moon, alluding to the return as being something of a national security matter. Mere weeks ago, Vice President Mike Pence declared that not only will NASA return humans to the Moon, it will also ramp up its work to meet a new and highly ambitious 2024 deadline.
Pence instructed NASA to meet this new deadline by ‘any means necessary,’ something NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine vowed the space agency would do. This has led to the need for additional funding, and NASA has been very transparent about the work that money is going toward, including the key Space Launch System and its anticipated future Deep Space Gateway station.
President Trump appears to have forgotten all about this yesterday when he fired off a tweet declaring that NASA shouldn’t be focused on going to the Moon, but rather on Mars and research.
The tweet represents a bizarre change of plan only a month after the administration was plowing at full speed toward a Moon mission. In fact, Trump made it clear in a tweet on May 13 that the Moon takes priority over Mars when it comes to NASA:
It remains unclear what exactly Trump means by his new tweet and how it relates to his administration’s very vocal goal of returning to the moon. One Twitter user may have found the answer, however: