Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday vowed that U.S. astronauts would walk on the moon “by any means necessary” in the not too distant future.
“The National Space Council will send recommendations to the president that will launch a major course correction for NASA and reignite that spark of urgency that propelled America to the vanguard of space exploration 50 years ago,” Pence said at National Space Council in Huntsville, Alabama.
Pence added that NASA rockets and landers could be replaced by private equipment if it would speed up the process of landing another American on the moon.
“It’s time to redouble our effort,” he said. “It can happen, but it will not happen unless we increase the pace.”
This summer will mark the 50-year anniversary of America’s first moon landing. U.S. astronauts have not walked on the moon since 1972.
President Trump has made landing on the moon a goal of his space-exploration policy — reversing President Obama’s target of landing on Mars.
“The exploration of the heavens in this still new century will go forward with or without the United States,” Pence said.
“But Americans don’t do second place. Americans lead, and so we will.”