13:22 GMT +313 December 2018
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    Trump Chat With ISS Crew Reveals US Eagerness to Land Human on Mars

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    Donald Trump’s video call to congratulate Astronaut Peggy Whitson’s new record for most time in space became an occasion for the US president push an accelerated schedule to land on Mars, according to a webcast of the event by NASA on Monday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Monday, Whitson broke the previous record of the longest stay in space by an American astronaut, surpassing the previous mark of 534 days. Whitson has also broken barriers by becoming the first woman to command the International Space Station, and with the present mission, the first woman to command the station twice, according to a NASA press release.

    "We’ll have to speed that up a little bit," Trump said of the Mars mission, apparently in jest, noting that he would like to see a human on the Red Planet in his the first or second term as president.

    When Trump asked who on the station wanted to fly to Mars, Whitson replied, "We’re all ready to go."

    But Whitson indicated the flight scheduled for sometimes in the 2030s would probably belong to the next generation of astronauts, urging students to study math, science and technology so that they could be part of that mission.

    Trump called Whitson from the Oval Office, sitting alongside his daughter Ivanka Trump and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins. Whitson explained the International Space Station is providing a "key bridge" for people on Earth to eventually travel into deep space.


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