The president signed the Space Policy Directive-1 on the 45th anniversary of the last crew mission to land on the moon, which was Apollo 17 lunar lander that touched down on the moon December 11, 1972.
Marco Caceres, a space analyst with defence and aerospace consulting firm Teal Group, said "there's not a lot of meat on" presidential directives to Nasa, given that they haven't been accompanied with specific funding proposals since the Apollo era, when America was racing to beat the Soviet Union in space.
Past presidents, including George HW Bush and George W Bush, have also proposed returning to the Moon and missions to Mars, but budget constraints derailed their plans.
"The President listened to the National Space Council's recommendations and he will change our nation's human spaceflight policy to help America become the driving force for the space industry, gain new knowledge from the cosmos, and spur incredible technology", Hogan continued. "This time we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprint - we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars and perhaps someday to many worlds beyond".
NASA recently announced that for human astronauts, the path to Mars will include a stop at the moon, where the agency may build a facility now being called the Deep Space Gateway. Schmitt was one of the last two people to walk on the moon.
Even though much is being said about Donald Trump and how accusations of sexual misconduct against him could lead to his impeachment, the United States president seems unfazed and has been going around fulfilling his presidential duties.
Nasa's Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot welcomed the announcement. On Tuesday morning, the closely-held company is slated to fire off a Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft laden with cargo supplies destined for the International Space Station, in what will be the company's 17th mission of the year.
When the US retired the space shuttle program in 2011, NASA turned to private industry to fill in the gap when it comes to human space flight. It is known that Pence too, in the past, has expressed interest in human lunar missions and had also spoken about how the moon was the foundation to build and strengthen global partnerships. According to NPR, this week marks 45 years since he walked on the moon, and since then, no humans have flown past low-Earth orbit.