NASA will announce US companies that will help bring American astronauts back to the moon.
Space Administration Administrator Jim Bridenstine will make the announcement at 2:00 pm. ET Thursday. "Working with US companies is the next step on the path to a long-term scientific study and exploration of the Moon and Mars by humans," NASA said in a statement.
The Trump administration has led lunar missions as a key element of the 2019 NASA budget. President Donald Trump wants American astronauts to return to the moon as the basis for future Mars missions.
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In December Trump signed a guideline instructing NASA to focus its exploration and discovery on NASA To focus people. The move, Trump notes, "represents an important step in bringing American astronauts back to the Moon for the first time since 1972 for a long-term exploration."
The last time a human entered the Moon was during the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972. Only 12 men, all Americans, have entered the moon.
Mars also plays an important role in the future of American space. The long-term goal of NASA is to send a manned mission to the Red Planet in the 2030s.
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As part of this effort comes NASA Unmanned InSight Lander landed on Mars surface Monday and has been for six years the first probe of the space organization that reached the Red Planet.
Fox News Chris Ciaccia and The Associated Press contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers