Pence was also explicit that meeting the new five-year goal should be accomplished “by any means necessary,” including switching to commercial rockets. NASA has planned to send astronauts beyond orbit using its new Space Launch System (SLS) and the Orion spacecraft, but SLS has been plagued by delays. Earlier this month, Bridenstine testified before a congressional committee that NASA may need to perform the first uncrewed launch of Orion in 2020 using a commercial rocket like a SpaceX Falcon Heavy instead. However, in a statement released later Tuesday, Bridenstine said that “while some of these alternative vehicles could work, none was capable of achieving our goals to orbit around the moon for Exploration Mission-1 within our timeline and on budget. The results of this two-week study reaffirmed our commitment to the SLS. More details will be released in the future.”Despite the challenges, Bridenstine said NASA will work to accomplish the goal of landing astronauts near the moon’s south pole by 2024.Sticking to schedules hasn’t always been NASA’s strong suit, though. Well, at least not since the last time we set foot on the moon. NASA Space Tags 5:20 Pence’s speech echoed overtones of the Cold War tensions that drove NASA to achieve the original Apollo 11 moon landing on schedule 50 years ago this July. Pence said we’re in the midst of another space race, citing China’s recent landing on the far side of the moon and saying that it “revealed their ambition to seize the strategic lunar high ground.” He also mentioned the reliance on Russian rockets to send American astronauts to orbit over the past decade, something the agency hopes to bring to an end with new spacecraft designed by SpaceX, Boeing and NASA itself. “The first woman and the next man on the moon will both be American astronauts, launched by American rockets from American soil.” Now playing: Watch this: Share your voice 9 BIG NEWS: President Trump and @VP Pence have directed @NASA to return astronauts to the Moon in the next 5 years.Challenge accepted. Now let’s get to work.https://t.co/MjcDSG6NLc pic.twitter.com/QqYofbKzOe— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) March 26, 2019 NASA’s bid to get humans back to the moon The second man on the moon, Buzz Aldrin, as photographed by the first, Neil Armstrong, who’s reflected in Aldrin’s visor. NASA At a meeting of the National Space Council on Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence challenged NASA to put astronauts back on the moon by 2024, moving up the agency’s timeline for a return to the lunar surface. “What we need now is urgency,” Pence said during a speech to a crowd at the US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. “It is the stated policy of this administration and the United States of America to return American astronauts to the moon within the next five years.” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, appointed by President Donald Trump, later accepted the challenge, calling it “right on time.” “NASA is going to do everything in its power to meet that deadline,” Bridenstine said. Bridenstine’s Twitter account also sent out a link to NASA’s Moon to Mars page that still listed 2028 as the target for putting new boots on the lunar surface. The page has since been revised to show the new 2024 target for astronauts on the moon. Sci-Tech Comments
Share Jason RedmondPeople protest outside as the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals prepares to hear arguments on President Trump’s revised travel ban in Seattle on Monday.Just hours before President Donald Trump’s latest travel ban was to take full effect, a federal judge in Hawaii blocked the revised order, saying the policy has the same problems as a previous version.The revised order “suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor,” U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson wrote in his ruling, which prevented the Trump administration from enforcing the travel ban set to go into effect early Wednesday.It was the third set of travel restrictions issued by the president to be thwarted, in whole or in part, by the courts.A federal judge in Maryland quickly followed suit with a similar ruling. U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang also granted a nationwide preliminary injunction late Tuesday.Chuang’s ruling said the administration had “not shown that national security cannot be maintained without an unprecedented eight-country travel ban.”Watson’s Tuesday ruling said the new ban, like its predecessor, fails to show that nationality alone makes a person a greater security risk to the U.S.“The categorical restrictions on entire populations of men, women and children, based upon nationality, are a poor fit for the issues regarding the sharing of ‘public-safety and terrorism-related information’ that the president identifies,” Watson wrote.He said the ban is inconsistent in the way some countries are included or left out. For example, Iraq failed to meet the security benchmark but was omitted from the ban. Somalia met the information-sharing benchmark but was included.APDemonstrators agains the so-called travel ban in Seattle on May 15th, 2017.The ban, which was announced in September, applied to travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, along with some Venezuelan government officials and their families.The Trump administration said the ban was based on an assessment of each country’s security situation and willingness to share information with the U.S.White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the ruling “dangerously flawed” and said it “undercuts the president’s efforts to keep the American people safe.” The Justice Department said it will quickly appeal.The judge’s ruling applies only to the six Muslim-majority countries on the list. It does not affect the restrictions against North Korea or Venezuela, because Hawaii did not ask for that.The state of Hawaii challenged the ban on a set of mostly Muslim countries, arguing that the restrictions would separate families and undermine the recruiting of diverse college students.“This is the third time Hawaii has gone to court to stop President Trump from issuing a travel ban that discriminates against people based on their nation of origin or religion,” Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin said in a statement. “Today is another victory for the rule of law.”Steve Helber | APProtesters hold signs and march in front of the State Capitol across the street from the US 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., Monday, May 8, 2017. The court will examine a ruling that blocks the administration from temporarily barring new visas for citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It’s the first time an appeals court will hear arguments on the revised travel ban, which is likely destined for the U.S. Supreme Court.Watson, appointed to the bench by President Barack Obama, said the new restrictions ignore a federal appeals court ruling against Trump’s previous ban.The latest version “plainly discriminates based on nationality in the manner that the 9th Circuit has found antithetical to … the founding principles of this nation,” Watson wrote.Hawaii also argued the updated ban was a continuation of Trump’s campaign call for a ban on Muslims, despite the addition of two countries without a Muslim majority.Watson noted that Hawaii had argued Trump did not back down from that call, listing in the ruling a series of June tweets “in which (Trump) complained about how the Justice Department had submitted a “watered down, politically correct version’ to the Supreme Court.”Other courts that weighed the travel ban have cited Trump’s comments about banning Muslims, including the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia and a federal judge in Maryland. Watson also referred to a Trump campaign statement in his previous ruling.“Judge Watson’s ruling makes clear that we are a nation of laws, no matter what this administration may try to do,” Hawaii’s U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz said in a statement. “There is a place here for peaceful immigrants from every corner of the world: Spain, Syria, Sudan, or Singapore. There is no place here for discrimination or xenophobia.”Watson found fault with what sorts of visitors are barred. For instance, all tourists and business travelers from Libya are excluded from the U.S., but student visitors were allowed.The judge said he would set an expedited hearing to determine whether the temporary restraining order blocking the ban should be extended. It comes as other courts weigh challenges to the ban.In Maryland, the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups are seeking to block the visa and entry restrictions. Washington state, Massachusetts, California, Oregon, New York and Maryland are challenging the order in front of the same federal judge in Seattle who struck down Trump’s initial ban in January.That ban — aimed mostly at Muslim-majority countries — led to chaos and confusion at airports nationwide and triggered several lawsuits, including one from Hawaii.When Trump revised the ban, Hawaii challenged that version, too, and Watson agreed it discriminated on the basis of nationality and religion. A subsequent U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowed the administration to partially reinstate restrictions against Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and against all refugees.Hawaii then successfully challenged the government’s definition of which relatives of people already living in the U.S. would be allowed into the country, and Watson ordered the list expanded.