Vice President Mike Pence said during a National Space Council meeting that NASA is on track towards Artemis, the space agency's upcoming Moon exploration mission, Space News reported Tuesday.
Pence, who chaired the council's recent meeting, talked about NASA's progress on Artemis' key components such as Lockheed Martin's Orion spacecraft and the Boeing-contracted Space Launch System rocket. He also noted that NASA will use the Moon mission to develop technologies that would allow humans to survive multi-month expeditions at places like the lunar south pole.
"We’re well on our way to making NASA’s moon-to-Mars mission a reality,” he said during the meeting at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. “Using what we learn on the moon will bring us closer to the day, as the president said, that American astronauts will plant the Stars and Stripes on the surface of Mars," Pence said, referencing President Trump's emphasis on Mars exploration.
Jim Bridenstine, NASA administrator and 2019 Wash100 Award recipient, also said the space agency's lunar gateway would serve as the country's passage to reach Mars.