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Pence: US will return astronauts to moon within 5 years, go to Mars

The United States is planning on returning astronauts to the moon within five years, and the mission will include a woman, Vice President Mike Pence announced on Tuesday.

The United States is planning on returning astronauts to the moon within five years, and the mission will include a woman, Vice President Mike Pence announced on Tuesday.

Pence said the goal would be to set up a base on the moon, which would allow for a manned “eventual mission to Mars.”

The US is increasingly acting along the lines of “great power competition” as it seeks to counter a rising China and a resurgent Russia. Recently, the Chinese space programme landed a probe on the far side of the moon for the first time.

The vice president, who has taken the lead on space issues, also said US-made rockets would again be used within a year for space missions.

“The first woman and the next man on the moon will both be American astronauts launched by American rockets from American soil,” Pence said at a NASA centre.

“Now’s come the time to make the next giant leap and return American astronauts to the moon, establish a permanent base there and develop the technologies to take American astronauts to Mars and beyond. That’s the next giant leap,” the vice president announced.

The last people to walk on the moon were US astronauts from the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

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