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Pence sets sights on the Moon, Mars, in NASA speech

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Ice found on the moon

Scientists say they have found water ice on the moon’s north and south poles. The discovery means that it can be used as a source of water for future moon missions.

Vice-President Mike Pence pointed to the great importance of the Moon to America’s future in space in a speech at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston Thursday.

“We are not satisfied with leaving behind footprints,” he said, during the 30-minute speech, such as the Trump management the objective of “the establishment of a permanent presence in the area around and on the Moon.”

The administration has cited Moon missions as an important element of the 2019 NASA budget. President Donald Trump wants the AMERICAN astronauts to return to the Moon as a base for future missions to Mars.

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Pence discussed plans for a Moon-Orbital Platform-Gateway, a NASA space station that is in the vicinity of the Moon. The chairman of the Rural Area of the Council described the purpose of putting an American on board the Lunar Orbital Platform before the end of 2024. “We are on the cusp of a new golden age of exploration,” he said.

NASA released a draft Request for Proposals earlier this year that an appeal to the U.S. commercial space industry to contribute to the delivery of cargo to the Moon. The agency plans to award multiple contracts for Commercial Lunar Payload Services by means of the following decade, with the contract missions to the moon’s surface are expected to begin as early as 2019.

The VP also described the mighty Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft that will be used to take AMERICAN astronauts on epic missions over the coming years. “The SLS will be the largest and most powerful rocket ever built — all this energy, all this power, lift American astronauts into space aboard the Orion capsule,” Pence explained.

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“We will return to the Moon, the Americans put on Mars and re-explore the farthest corner of the universe,” he said.

NASA’s goal is to have a manned mission to Mars in the 2030s.

In December, Trump signed a policy directive instructing NASA to “establish the american space program of human exploration and discovery.” The move, Trump said: “marks a major step in returning American astronauts to the Moon for the first time since 1972 for a long time, an exploration.”

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The last time a man set foot on the Moon during the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972. Only 12 men, all Americans, have set foot on the Moon.

Fox News Madeleine Rivera and The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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