NASA seems hell bent to go to Mars, but can't afford to on its' own.
Its' International partners have no stomach for that, and would rather return to our moon and build a base there for further exploration.
Doesn't going back to the moon make more sense? Build a base on the moon, and use it's low gravity and possible water at the poles as propellant for further space exploration?
Why not the moon first?
From NASA itself, in 2008: https://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/series/moon/why_go_back.html [nasa.gov]
The all-knowing, always trustworthy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonization_of_the_Moon [wikipedia.org]