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National Space Council Will Talk NASA's Moon Goals and More Today. Watch It Live.

Vice President Mike Pence, chairman of the National Space Council, will convene and preside over the fifth meeting of the organization on March 26, 2019.
Vice President Mike Pence, chairman of the National Space Council, will convene and preside over the fifth meeting of the organization on March 26, 2019. (Image credit: Kim Shiflet/NASA)

The National Space Council (NSC) will convene today (March 26) for the fifth time, and you can watch it live.

The NSC meeting will focus on the United States' efforts to get humans back to the moon and then send people on to Mars and other distant destinations, NASA officials said. The meeting kicks off at 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT); watch it live here at Space.com, courtesy of NASA, or directly via NASA TV.

"Vice President Mike Pence, chairman of the council, will convene and preside over the meeting, which will include a report out from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine," NASA officials wrote in a media advisory.

"The meeting also will include reports from various other council members, two expert panels on human space exploration, and council discussion, from which Vice President Pence will provide policy recommendations for the president," they added.

The first panel, called "Ready to Fly," will feature Les Lyles, a retired U.S. Air Force general and former Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force; Eileen Collins, a retired U.S. Air Force officer and former NASA astronaut; and former NASA astronaut Sandy Magnus.

The speakers on the second panel, "Ready to Explore," are Dan Dumbacher, executive director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics; Jack Burns, a professor of astrophysical and planetary sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder; and independent consultant Wanda Sigur. 

President Donald Trump's Space Policy Directive 1, which was signed in December 2017, instructs NASA to get astronauts to the moon, and to use Earth's nearest neighbor as a stepping-stone to Mars. NASA's current moon plans include the construction of a small, moon-orbiting space station called the Gateway, which will serve as a jumping-off point to the lunar surface. 

Assembly of the Gateway is scheduled to begin in 2022. NASA aims to put boots on the moon's gray dirt before the end of the 2020s.

The National Space Council helps steer America's space policy. President Trump reinstated the council in 2017; it had last been active in the early 1990s, during the presidency of George H.W. Bush.

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Mike Wall
SPACE.COM SENIOR SPACE WRITER — Michael has been writing for Space.com since 2010. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.