In his Inaugural Address, President Donald Trump declared, “We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space.” That exploration is now well underway. As Vice President Mike Pence said at a recent meeting of the National Space Council, “we’ve renewed America’s commitment to human space exploration, vowing to go further into space, farther and faster than ever before.”
That includes returning to the moon, with the goal of an eventual mission to Mars, said Vice President Pence:
“President Trump made it the policy of this administration to return to the moon by 2024 and ensure that the next man and the first woman on the moon will be American astronauts. The Artemis mission has already begun, and we’re well on our way to making NASA’s Moon to Mars mission a reality.”
In order to take the next leap toward the Martian surface, it will be necessary to find a means to live on the moon for months and even years. “We have to learn how to make use of all available resources to sustain human life and all our activities in space, including by mining the vast quantities of life-sustaining water that’s frozen in ice on our lunar poles,” explained Vice President Pence. This will call for an unprecedented partnership between private space companies and NASA.
Even as the U.S. leads in American innovation and entrepreneurship in space, it must also lead in security, declared Vice President Pence. Pending Congressional approval, the U.S. will soon stand up the sixth branch of the Armed Forces of the United States: the United States Space Force, explained Mr. Pence:
“The United States Space Force will ensure that our nation is prepared to defend our people, to defend our interests, and to defend our values in the vast expanse of space and here on the earth with technologies that will support our common defense from the vast reaches of outer space.”
The tasks ahead in space exploration and defense involve “hazard, sacrifice and perseverance,” warned Vice President Pence, but “we know that Americans can accomplish anything we set our minds to. And America will lead the world back into the vast expanse of space.”