Between the dystopian landscape he painted of America during his inaugural address, he specifically vowed to unlock the ‘mysteries of space.’ During his transition period, Elon Musk – founder of SpaceX, dropped by Trump Tower for two talks.
Both focused on how NASA could position itself to send astronauts to Mars with the help of public-private partnerships. Screw the wall, do that. Have you seen The Expanse? Don’t read the books; it doesn’t end too well for Earth.
SpaceX is back in action after a successful launch and deployment of Iridium satellites. The company has a packed schedule for 2017 which hopefully lead to it becoming a partner with NASA sending astronauts to the ISS.
The two meetings were followed up by a meeting with Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian, and expert on the Apollo program.
For all the hate and love of President Trump, here’s one thing that is undisputed. The guy likes big, shiny objects that scream America. Ideology? Whoever was in the room last and made it sound cool.
NASA, here’s your chance. You have teams of people sitting around thinking shit up. Use your once in lifetime opportunity to get him to JPL, various NASA HQs and blow his mind.
Scientists won’t like where the money is being diverted from – global warming initiatives – but it goes back to the last person in the room mentality. Neil deGrasse Tyson should follow him around anytime there’s a scientific discussion.
Trump Space Program?
It’s not as far-fetched as it sounds. The consensus is the president would want to focus on exploration with probes and robotics followed by manned missions. Robert Bigelow, a billionaire space entrepreneur, wants President Trump to double NASA’s budget. Poor Paul Ryan. The bull has been let loose in the china shop. Have fun.
The cost to get Mark Watney to Mars farming potatoes is around $35 billion by 2025 with the United States touching down in 2030. Where does the money come from? Well, Republicans suddenly lose religion when it comes to fiscal responsibility when they are in charge, but if they managed to contain their giddiness, NASA would get out of the Earth science realm.
“A number of prominent Republicans on Capitol Hill think that NASA should not be involved to the degree that it is in Earth science,” Jeff Foust, a senior writer at the trade publication SpaceNews, told Space.com. “I would certainly expect to see some sort of development in terms of potential reduction to NASA’s Earth science program.”
Elections have consequences and who’s to say research on deep space missions wouldn’t accidentally on purpose keep an eye on our blue marble.
Robert S. Walker and Peter Navarro, senior advisors during the campaign, wrote an op-ed for SpaceNews before the election expanding on their vision for NASA:
“NASA should be focused primarily on deep-space activities rather than Earth-centric work that is better handled by other agencies. Human exploration of our entire solar system by the end of this century should be NASA’s focus and goal.”
It is possible to walk and chew gum at the same time, but the Trump administration will be taking aim at the $2 billion set aside for its Earth Science Mission Directorate and push it towards the deep space exploration.
Before anyone starts cheering a move like that, the $2 billion covers not only climate science but upgrading forecasting models and equipment for weather prediction. May want to keep that around, or one day a GOP Senator might have to swim to gavel in the new session.
Make Space Cool Again
Big ass rockets. Cool space suits. If you ever wanted a president that’s impressed by grand spectacles, we have one for four years. Maybe that’s a glass half full approach, but NASA has been woefully neglected for far too long. And President Trump loves an ‘atta boy.’ And Florida is a swing state he needs.
If that’s not enough to sell him on it, the crowds Mr. President. Sean Spicer won’t have to scream in press briefing room about alternative facts. Nah, you can give a thumbs up next to giant rocket. Please, no gold…