U.S. President Donald Trump recently confirmed that the Mars mission, which is one of the main goals of NASA’s Artemis program, will launch soon. Although a lunar mission is still part of the program, Trump said that going back to the Moon is not exciting.

During a press conference at the White House, Trump confirmed to reporters that NASA’s future Mars mission will still proceed as planned. This mission is part of NASA’s Artemis program.

As explained by the space agency, the first phase of Artemis involves sending a human mission to the Moon. From there, NASA will use the Moon as a jumping point for its first crewed mission to Mars.

Although the two missions are equally important for NASA, Trump thinks that visiting the Red Planet is a bigger deal than going back to the Moon.

“We’re going to Mars,” Trump said during the press conference, according to Space.com. “We’re stopping at the Moon. The Moon is actually a launching pad.”

“That’s why we’re stopping at the Moon,” he added. “I said, ‘Hey, we’ve done the Moon. That’s not exciting.’ So we’ll be doing the Moon. But we’ll really be doing Mars.”

Trump’s lack of enthusiasm for the upcoming lunar expedition doesn’t come as a surprise since this isn’t the first time he criticized the Moon mission. Although returning to the Moon is part of the Space Policy Directive 1 that he signed in 2017, he’s been very vocal about why NASA should no longer focus on a new lunar expedition.

Earlier in June before the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, Trump said that NASA should concentrate on new exploration projects instead of going back to the Moon.

“For all of the money we are spending, NASA should not be talking about going to the Moon,” he said. “We did that 50 years ago.”

“They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part), Defense and Science,” he added.

The public, however, didn’t react positively to Trump’s statement. Aside from his remark against NASA, Trump was also criticized for stating that Earth’s Moon is part of Mars.

President Donald Trump is expected to make the US case against Iran at the UN this week
President Donald Trump is expected to make the US case against Iran at the UN this week AFP / SAUL LOEB