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Trump Wants to Send Americans Back to the Moon by 2024

Carlos Barria/Reuters

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence announced on Tuesday an accelerated goal of putting Americans back on the moon within five years "by any means necessary," and NASA’s top official immediately embraced the challenge, Reuters reports.

Pence, chairing a meeting of the National Space Council at NASA’s Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, borrowed from the vocabulary of the Cold War era in declaring, "We’re in a space race today, just as we were in the 1960s."

The drive to reach the moon reflects President Donald Trump’s desire to champion a bold new national objective as he mounts a re-election bid, while also seeking to counter the potential space weaponry capabilities of Russia and China.

NASA had previously aimed to return astronauts to the lunar surface by the year 2028, after first putting a "Gateway" station in orbit around the moon by 2024.

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