Trump calls NASA astronaut to congratulate her on space duration record

Trump calls NASA astronaut to congratulate her on space duration record

Peggy Whitson broke the record Monday for longest stay by a US astronaut in space: 534 days.

Commander of the International Space Station's Expedition 51 crew, Peggy Whitson officially set the United States record on Monday for most cumulative days in space, surpassing NASA astronaut Jeff Williams' record of 534 days.

The President was joined by his daughter and close adviser Ivanka Trump and American astronaut Kate Rubins during the congratulatory call.

While Whitson told Trump she is "absolutely ready to go to Mars", she noted that the US will likely not be ready to actually send humans to the red planet until around 2030.

In November 2016, Whitson and two other astronauts, from Russian Federation and the European Space Agency, blasted off for the International Space Station to conduct hundreds of experiments in biology, earth science, even how lighting affects the crew. One way to make it, she said, would be "cleaning up our urine and making it drinkable", which she promised was "really not as bad as it sounds".

"I'm glad to hear that", Trump responded.

"I wouldn't want to fly" at that speed, but it's "what you do", he added.

The oldest woman ever in space, Ms Whitson also set a record for most space walks by a female astronaut last month, when she floated outside the space station for the eighth time in her career. By the time she returns to Earth, she will have spent more than 650 cumulative days in space.

Congratulations commander Whitson for exceeding the USA record of 534 days in space.

"This is an inspirational record Peggy is setting today, and she would be the first to tell you this is a record that's absolutely made to be broken as we advance our knowledge and existence as both Americans and humans", said NASA acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot.

In addition to congratulating Peggy Whitson, President Donald Trump also asked her about details regarding the Mars schedule and when would a manned probe to the planet be realized. Behind her was a banner that read: "Congrats Peggy!" Trump asked Whitson and Fischer.

Their talk soon turned to Trump's plan to send people to Mars, with Whitson saying that at NASA, "we're excited about the missions to Mars in the 2030s".

The Iowa native is part of Expedition 50/51, her third long-duration mission to the space station.

The debut of the mega rocket is still more than a year away-at least.

"Getting there will require some global cooperation", Whitson stated.

"That's fantastic", Trump said.

"I've been dealing with politicians so much", said Trump. Commander Whitson noted some of the space station's scientific achievements.