President Barack Obama has scrapped US plans to return astronauts to the moon. The plan forms part of a cost saving initiative designed to reduce the country’s fiscal deficit. “US plans to return astronauts to the moon have been scrapped under a revised budget presented to the US congress. The plan put forward by Barack Obama, the US president, on Monday kills off the costly Constellation programme of new rockets and spacecraft initiated under the previous Bush administration. Instead Nasa, the US space agency, will get increased funds to develop new rocket technologies and incentivise private companies to develop spacecraft to carry future generations of astronauts. Under the plan Nasa will get an extra $6bn over the next five years to begin what the White House said would be ‘a bold and ambitious new space initiative that invests in American ingenuity’. The Constellation programme, officials said, was behind schedule, over budget, a waste of resources and less important than other space investments.”