President Barack Obama has called NASA to cancel the $100 billion program that was to return humans to the Moon by 2020, and focus instead on new space technologies.

The Constellation program had already used about $9 billion to develop a new crew capsule, Orion, and a new rocket, the Ares 1.

Former President George W. Bush proposed the moon mission after the 2003 space shuttle Columbia disaster.

The White House said the program was too similar to the 1960s Apollo mission and would require large budget increases just to get astronauts back on the moon by 2030.

Obama’s 2010 budget proposal for NASA asks for $18 billion over five years for fueling spacecraft in orbit, new types of engines to accelerate spacecraft through space and robotic factories that could transform soil on the Moon into rocket fuel.

The move came on the seventh anniversary of the space shuttle tragedy that triggered the return to the moon plan.