NASA head responds to Trump moon tweet: 'Nothing has changed'

Jim Bridenstine takes an optimistic view of President Trump's odd Twitter missive about the moon and Mars.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine talked about President Trump's moon and Mars tweet.

Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

President Donald Trump seemed to drop cold, hard rain right on top of NASA's moon parade last week when he tweeted that the agency should be focused on Mars and not talk so much about the moon. 

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine had a chance to address the president's comments during a town hall-style gathering with employees of the Glenn Research Center in Ohio on Monday. 

The question came in via the moderator, who asked if Trump's tweet signaled a shift in the White House's support for NASA's Artemis mission, which includes returning humans to the surface of the moon by 2024.

Trump's tweet left itself wide open to interpretation. Some thought the president mistook the moon for a part of Mars, where others suspected he was referring to the moon as a jumping-off point for deeper human exploration into space. The latter is how Bridenstine is reading it.

"The moon is valuable because it's a proving ground for how to get to Mars," Bridenstine said. "And that's exactly the case that the president made."

The Artemis mission is still a go as far as Bridenstine and NASA are concerned. "Nothing has changed. Some people have tried to read more into this than there is," he said.

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