The NASA administrator took time to clarify that the Moon and Mars are not, in fact, the same thing.
On Tuesday, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine was forced to clean up the mess Trump made with his angry tweet that both criticized NASA's goal to send people back to the Moon and said the moon was a part of Mars.
"For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon – We did that 50 years ago," Trump tweeted on Friday. "They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part), Defense and Science!"
First, some basic facts: The Moon is not "a part" of Mars. The Moon is a rocky entity that revolves around Earth every 28 days. Mars, on the other hand, is a planet that has two moons of its own: Phobos and Deimos.
As for NASA policy, Bridenstine said Trump's comments were all a big misunderstanding, according to Yahoo! News.
"Some people have tried to read more into this than there is," Bridenstine told a crowd at NASA's Glenn Research Center. "But here's the thing: We're going to Mars, the Moon is a waypoint."
Bridenstine said Trump's tweet resulted from a "business news program" that interviewed a NASA official about the need to go to the Moon.
Trump's admonition that NASA should forget about going to the Moon contradicted earlier statements from the Trump administration. During a December 2017 White House event, Trump bragged about sending Americans to the Moon, saying a directive he signed at the event "marks an important step in returning American astronauts to the Moon for the first time since 1972" before eventually going to Mars.
And in March of this year, Vice President Mike Pence made a major announcement that NASA would send people back to the Moon by 2024. "The first woman and the next man on the Moon will both be American astronauts launched from rockets from American soil," Pence said at the time.
Even Trump's most recent budget included funding to send people back to the Moon.
Trump seemed to ignore all those promises and goals when he chastised NASA for talking about going to the Moon.
Of course, this is not the first time Trump needed to be corrected about something.
Earlier this month, the Defense Department corrected Trump'’s lies about prescription medication used by American troops, including transgender troops.
In April, the military was forced to correct a Trump lie about Mexican soldiers drawing their guns on U.S. National Guard troops.
When the Notre Dame cathedral caught fire earlier in April, French officials corrected Trump's unsolicited advice about how to fight the fire, noting Trump's plan would have caused the entire structure to collapse.
Now, NASA joins the long list of agencies forced to clean up after a bungling Trump spouted off about things he knows little about.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.