Mike Pence says U.S. will first return to the moon, then go to Mars

Vice President Mike Pence confirmed Saturday the U.S. first will return to the moon, and then Mars, in upcoming space travel. Pence spoke to CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett Saturday afternoon in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on the anniversary of the launch of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.

“That’s 100% correct, and that’s the policy that the president’s put into motion since reestablishing the National Space Council,” Pence said, when asked if the plan was to go to the moon and then Mars. Meeting with Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin on Friday, Mr. Trump grilled NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine about the logistics of getting a man on Mars.

“We don’t know what we’re going to find on Mars, but it certainly is going to be a trip that’s very interesting,” Mr. Trump said. “To get to Mars, you have to land on the moon, they say.”
When Aldrin and another astronaut, Michael Collins, said they believed the trip should be directly to Mars, Mr. Trump seemed to agree.

“It seems to me, Mars direct,” Mr. Trump said. “I mean who knows better than these people? What about the concept of Mars direct?”

When asked about the president’s ambiguity on the subject Friday, Pence said it was an example of Mr. Trump’s eagerness to get to Mars.

“Well what the American people saw is, the president and I serve everything, he always wants to go farther faster sooner,” Pence said.

Major Garrett’s full interview with Vice President Mike Pence will be available on “The Takeout” podcast on Tuesday, July 23, 2019. More clips will be released Sunday and will be available on CBSNews.com.

MORE: Nation celebrates 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 moon landing

Author: GRACE SEGERS/ CBS News
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