President Trump announced Monday evening he is amending his budget to include more funding for space exploration, including an American trip to Mars.
Under my Administration, we are restoring @NASA to greatness and we are going back to the Moon, then Mars. I am updating my budget to include an additional $1.6 billion so that we can return to Space in a BIG WAY!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 13, 2019
In late 2018, the White House officially announced the establishment of a Space Force.
"Our destiny, beyond the Earth, is not only a matter of national identity, but a matter of national security," President Trump said.
The White House has repeatedly made this argument, stressing the need for the United States to remain dominant.
"Space is now recognized as a warfighting domain and the United States must be prepared to meet the emerging threats we face in this new battlefield," the White House released. "Recognizing this, President Trump is taking action to ensure that the American military is equipped to protect our Nation and preserve our freedom to operate in, from, and to space."
Vice President Mike Pence has been driving the Space Force forward since it was announced.
"Space is central to our way of life. U.S. leadership in space has pioneered groundbreaking new technologies; revolutionized how we communicate, travel, farm and trade; supported countless U.S. jobs; and above all made the strongest military in the history of the world stronger still," Pence wrote in an op-ed. "But the domain of space, once desolate and uncontested, is now crowded and confrontational. As the Defense Intelligence Agency detailed in a recent report, China and Russia are aggressively developing and deploying capabilities — including anti-satellite weapons, airborne lasers, menacing "on-orbit" capabilities and evasive hypersonic missiles — that have transformed space into a war-fighting domain."
"At the president's direction, the defense secretary is already establishing a unified combatant command for space that will centralize the command-and-control structure for space war-fighting. It will also develop and implement the unique strategy, doctrine, tactics, techniques and procedures our armed forces need to deter and defeat a new generation of threats in space," he continued.
While the United States has sent rovers to Mars, it has never sent an astronaut to the red planet. It takes nearly a year to get there from Earth.