If you were wondering why everyone was making moon and Mars jokes online yesterday and into today, it can all be traced back to a tweet. President Trump was behind the online posting that had everyone buzzing, putting up somewhat of a puzzler Friday afternoon regarding upcoming space missions by NASA. "For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon - We did that 50 years ago," he tweeted. "They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part), Defense and Science!" In addition to people wondering if the president really thinks the moon is a part of Mars, some tried to figure out how this new message jibed with recent ones in which the president seemed gung-ho about future expeditions to the moon.
Amid all the jokes, moon fact-checks (Mars actually isn't a part of the lunar landscape, if you didn't know by now), and double takes—BuzzFeed rounds up a bunch of them—Business Insider put in a good-faith effort to decipher what Trump meant and/or why he put up that post. It cites Media Matters' Matt Gertz, who worked "backwards" to trace the president's thinking. Gertz's conclusion? That a Neil Cavuto segment on NASA that aired on Fox News about an hour or so before Trump's tweet may have triggered it. Cavuto's take was that NASA is "refocusing on the moon, the next sort of quest, if you will, but didn't we do this moon thing quite a few decades ago?" Vox agrees with the Cavuto theory, and adds some more to the backstory here. (Read more President Trump stories.)