Donald Trump just promised his supporters he'd 'put a man on the face of the moon.' We already did that.

Getty ImagesPresident Trump speaking at a rally in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
  • At a rally in Louisiana on Friday night, President Donald Trump spoke for nearly 90 minutes.
  • He closed the evening by emphatically saying the US would “defeat Socialism” and “put a man on the face of the moon.”
  • We already did that – 50 years ago.
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On Friday night, President Donald Trump held a campaign rally at the James E. Sudduth Coliseum in Lake Charles, Louisiana. A nearly full house listened on as Trump covered some of his favourite subjects (the border, the military, and the flag) and attacked all the usual suspects (Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, the state of California).

And then things got weird.

At the end of his 90-minute speech, Trump took a moment to speak on the sanctity of the national motto “In God We Trust” before launching into a rousing history lesson on the founding of America.

“We stand on the shoulders of American patriots who crossed the oceans, settled the continent, tamed the wilderness, revolutionised industry, pioneered science, won two world wars, defeated fascism and communism,” Trump said. “And we’re gonna defeat socialism and put a man on the face of the moon.”

What?

Here’s the thing; The US already put a man on the moon – 50 years ago. In fact, the photo of Buzz Aldrin planting a flag in the rocky, cratered face of the moon is one of the most recognisable images of the last hundred years (in no small part because it later became part of the station identification for MTV).

NASA actually completed six crewed missions to the moon between 1969 and 1972 – and a total of 12 astronauts touched down on the moon’s “face.”

Trump has a history of flubbing up historical moments – claiming that Federick Douglass (who died in 1895) is “doing great work,” and claiming that the US “took over the airports” in order to defeat the British in the Revolutionary War (there definitely weren’t airports – or aeroplanes – in the late 1770s).

Trump’s space policy – particularly on going back to the moon – has flip-flopped.

In June he tweeted, “For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon – We did that 50 years ago. They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part), Defence and Science!”

However, in a speech on the Fourth of July, Trump celebrated the Apollo 11 moon landing, telling Gene Kranz, the Apollo flight director, “Gene, I want you to know that we’re going to be back on the moon very soon, and, someday soon, we will plant the American flag on Mars.”

But maybe this is all a big misunderstanding. Maybe Trump meant another moon?

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