“It Could Be infinity” –Trump the Cosmologist, Revives Nat’l Space Council

 

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President Donald Trump’s ceremony Friday to sign executive order to resurrect an advisory council that kick-started the first moon missions 60 years ago, went dormant in the 1990s, and could now lead astronauts into deep space — even Mars was a fascinating insight into vision of space exploration: It was, as Trump would say according to the Washington Post, “a big deal.”

“At some point in the future, we’re going to look back and say how did we do it without space?” is how the president, a known space aficionado who once phoned astronauts in orbit and asked them to hurry up and get to Mars, put it, kicking off the president’s sometimes baffling remarks about the cosmos.

“Our travels beyond the Earth propel scientific discoveries that improve our lives in countless ways here,” Trump said, listing new industry, technology and “space security” among the benefits. “At some point in the future, we’re going to look back and say how did we do it without space?” Trump then said, causing astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s eyebrows to shoot up.

“The human soul yearns for discovery,” Trump said, for example. “Our journey into space will not only make us stronger and more prosperous, but will unite us behind grand ambitions and bring us all closer together. Wouldn’t that be nice? Can you believe that space is going to do that?”

 

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The advisory group will also include Cabinet secretaries, the head of NASA and other administrators — almost none of whom were at the ceremony. As Sarah Kaplan noted for The Washington Post, Trump has not even named a NASA administrator, who will sit on the council. Likewise for the director of Office of Science and Technology Policy, which was entirely unstaffed as of Friday, according to CBS News.

“This is going to launch a whole new chapter for our great country,” Trump said near the end of his speech.
Then he sat down at a table and opened the executive order. “I know what this is,” he said. “Space!”

“This is infinity here,” he said enigmatically. “It could be infinity. We don’t really don’t know. But it could be. It has to be something — but it could be infinity, right?” Trump then signed the order and revived the National Space Council.

The following is a statement from acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot about Friday’s Executive Order creating the National Space Council:

“I am pleased that President Trump has signed an executive order reestablishing the National Space Council. The council existed previously from 1989-1993, and a version of it also existed as the National Aeronautics and Space Council from 1958-1973. As such, the council has guided NASA from our earliest days and can help us achieve the many ambitious milestones we are striving for today.

“This high-level group advises the president and comprises the leaders of government agencies with a stake in space, including the NASA administrator, the Secretaries of State, Commerce, Defense, and others, and will be chaired by Vice President Mike Pence. It will help ensure that all aspects of the nation’s space power — national security, commerce, international relations, exploration, and science, are coordinated and aligned to best serve the American people. A Users’ Advisory Group also will be convened so that the interests of industries and other non-federal entities are represented.

 

The Daily Galaxy via NASA,  Washington Post, and Associated Press

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