Donald Trump Space Program: What Comes Next for NASA and Space Exploration?
Now, Donald Trump is officially in the oval office. And, as cabinets are being assembled and appointed left-and-right, what will become of the space program? Which NASA programs will Trump keep, enhance and eliminate? Without further ado, here are some important things to know about the Donald Trump space program.
Donald Trump Space Program: The Initial Plans
Naturally, while new appointees take over our space program, a brief period of uncertainty will play out. However, according to reputable sources, Trump will be no slouch when it comes to space exploration.
Robert Walker, former chairman of the House Committee of Science, Space and Technology describes President Trump’s plans for our space program in only four words: visionary, disruptive, coordinating and resilient.
Currently, nobody is certain what a Donald Trump space program will focus on achieving. However, sources say he is particularly focused on private company partnerships. For instance, turning programs like our International Space Station over to private company hands. Frankly, this should come as no surprise, given Trump’s track record. Not to mention, with SpaceX already well in the mix, this plan is nicely teed up.
Donald Trump Space Program: The Moon and Mars
First, our Moon has been a likely candidate for pre-Mars human colonization. However, the Obama administration discouraged such plans. Yet, several key players may once again revisit this plan. Not to mention, many such players could likely end up as part of Trump’s transition team.
Today, NASA is already working on a capsule, known as Orion, intended to fly manned missions to distant locations, like Mars. Orion has already flown successful un-manned missions to Earth-orbit. In fact, Orion will orbit the Moon come late 2018.
Next, Trump has not directly discussed Mars. However, during the election Trump proudly proclaimed, “human exploration of the solar system by the end of the century.” Sources close to President Trump hinted that such a lofty goal was intended to inspire technology needed for sooner destinations, such as Mars.
Donald Trump Space Program: Potential Changes
Currently, NASA’s heavy involvement in Earth sciences has many Capitol Hill reps concerned. Furthermore, several feel other organizations, like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) would better handle such matters. Likely, driven by the climate change debate, President Trump will almost certainly change here. Despite your feelings towards the aforementioned debate, such changes would free up around 10% of NASA’s budget for other exploration.
NASA’s Asteroid Retrieval Mission, or ARM may also be in jeopardy. Intended to trap an asteroid in Moon-orbit, ARM aims to study the prevention of asteroid Earth collisions. Also, the mission hoped to mine resources from the asteroid, and serve as a stepping stone for Mars missions.
Donald Trump Space Program: Funding
Initially, the Donald Trump space program has not divulged any intention to cut funding to NASA. Alternatively, there has also been no mention of substantial increases. Ultimately, while redirected, funding should see no decreases.
Donald Trump Space Program: Administration
NASA’s current administrator, Charles Bolden has already said regardless of the election outcome, he will resign.
Now, while all other administration positions are being fulfilled, there is no current speculation to who will be appointed. As always, the Internet is littered with supposed claims, but none hold any real truth, currently.