But most importantly, the VP confirmed the U.S. is determined to have living-breathing citizens around and on the Moon by the middle of next decade.
Pence was, of course, talking about NASA’s projected build of a space station near the Moon. Called for now Lunar Outpost, the station would act as a gateway for missions to the surface of the Moon, Mars and beyond. It would also support a host of scientific experiments, just as the International Space Station (ISS) is doing in Earth orbit.
Pence criticized the decision of American regulators to cancel the Constellation Program in 2009. This program was NASA’s plan to return to the Moon by the end of 2020. When talking about this, Pence used a quote from Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar:
“Remember that scene on the front porch? It was an incredible quote," Pence said." One of the characters in the movie said, and I quote, 'We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars. Now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.' That's not how Americans think.”
Calling the decision to cancel Constellation a mistake, Pence pledged $500 million in the coming years to “move the Lunar Orbital Platform from proposal to production.”
The transcript of the statement made by Mike Pence at the Johnson Space Center can be read in full in the document attached below.