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National Space Council Calls for a Return to the Moon

Jan. 17, 2018 (EIRNS)— Scott Pace, Executive Secretary of President Trump’s revived National Space Council, has an interview in the Winter issue of The George Washington University Magazine. Pace is on leave as director of GWU’s Space Policy Institute, and previously served as NASA’s associate administrator for program analysis and evaluation.

Pace said that the Space Council’s priorities include "doing human space exploration, with a human return to the Moon as part of it, with international and commercial partners." As far as a timeline is concerned, he said that "it’s possible that you could see a return to the Moon by the early 2020s," but that that would require "unconventional ideas" by the private sector. "On the other hand," he cautioned," if the commercial ideas don’t pay off, then it’s going to be later."

In answer to the question, "What do

we want to get out of going back to the Moon?" he made three points: "rebuilding a capability for deep-space exploration, that has gone away and lapsed;"

second, to do scientific research, and, third, to get "other developing space programs," both international and private, "to align themselves more closely with us."

On the goal of going to Mars, Pace said "the fastest way to get to Mars is to be able to get to the Moon." He stressed the need for international cooperation in the context of what real leadership is.

"Go to Mars when you can bring lots of other people with you.... The nature of leadership today is very different than it was in the 1960s. Today, leadership is measured in how many people you can get to want to come with you and want to go with you. I thought that the previous administration’s focus on Mars was, in many ways, not really helpful, because it didn’t allow enough opportunity for others to participate in it,"

he said.

Scott Pace has been a partisan for a return to the Moon. His emphasis on the need for the commercial sector to play a seminal role is a function of the expectation that the NASA budget request by the Administration next month will not include a ramp-up in funding that is necessary to implement President Trump’s lunar initiative. The President has already said that Publc-Private partnerships will not work to build infrastructure. This is true in spades, for a national space exploration program.