President Donald Trump, in 2017, offered unlimited funding to NASA to send a manned mission to Mars, according to an upcoming book.
Prior to a phone call with NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson from the Oval Office in April 2017, Trump pressed Robert Lightfoot Jr., then the acting NASA administrator, for NASA’s plans for Mars, New York Magazine reported Tuesday, citing a copy of Cliff Sims’s upcoming book “Team of Vipers.”
“Is there any way we could do it by the end of my first term?” Trump asked Lightfoot, who told the president that NASA planned to try a manned spaceflight by the 2030s and that there were challenges of doing so before then.
Trump offered Lightfoot “all the money you could ever need,” according to New York Magazine’s report.
“But what if I gave you all the money you could ever need to do it?” Trump asked. “What if we sent NASA’s budget through the roof, but focused entirely on that instead of whatever else you’re doing now. Could it work then?”
Lightfoot responded to the president by telling him he didn’t think that was possible. That left Trump “visibly disappointed,” wrote Sims, a former White House communications staffer.
Trump also brought up the issue during a phone call with Whitson, saying that he wanted to get humans on Mars “at worst, during my second term.”