Pence pitches U.S. re­turn to the moon

The Mercury News Weekend - - NEWS -

WASH­ING­TON » In open­ing the first meet­ing of the res­ur­rected Na­tional Space Coun­cil, Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence said Thurs­day that the United States would re­gain a lead­er­ship role in hu­man space flight by em­bark­ing on a re­turn mis­sion to the moon, build­ing the foun­da­tion to go to Mars.

Pence of­fered no spe­cific time­line. Speak­ing be­fore a group of cab­i­net mem­bers and the chief ex­ec­u­tives of sev­eral top space com­pa­nies, he said the moon would be a “step­ping­stone, a train­ing ground” that would even­tu­ally pro­pel hu­man­ity deeper into the cos­mos in part­ner­ship with the grow­ing com­mer­cial space in­dus­try.

While he called for a re­newed em­pha­sis on ex­plo­ration, he also said the coun­cil, de­signed to help guide U.S. pol­icy in space, would need to cre­ate a more ro­bust na­tional se­cu­rity re­sponse to ad­vance­ments made by Rus­sia and China in de­vel­op­ing “jam­ming and hack­ing” ca­pa­bil­i­ties that can “crip­ple” mil­i­tary and in­tel­li­gence satel­lites.

Pence’s call to re­turn to the moon was the of­fi­cial dec­la­ra­tion of a much- dis­cussed goal of the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

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