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Yes to Mars, No to Earth? The Fate of Our Home Planet Under a Trump Presidency

Nov 15, 2016 08:59 AM EST
With President-elect Donald Trump sitting in the White House and soon calling the shots on what’s priority or not, it’s uncertain whether we’ll see more inspiring pursuits in the realm of space exploration in the coming days. (Photo : Getty Images via NASA)

With President-elect Donald Trump sitting in the White House and soon calling the shots on what's priority or not, it's uncertain whether we'll see more inspiring pursuits in the realm of space exploration in the coming days.

"The public Trump statement has endorsed space exploration ... but it could go either way," warns space policy expert John Logsdon in article by the National Geographic.

Currently, there is not much known on Trump's thoughts regarding space policy. However, his public statements during the campaign period and from two of his known advisors, Robert Walker, a former U.S. congressman, and Peter Navarro, an economics professor at the University of California, Irvine, assure that it may not be as bad as we think. In fact, their op-ed at Space News entitled Trump's Space Policy Reaches for Mars and the Stars, gives hope that current efforts to send people to Mars will not be abandoned by the incoming administration.

On the contrary, the same thing cannot be said on NASA's earth sciences program, which uses an armada of satellites to study and understand our own planet. At an October 26 meeting of the Federal Aviation Administration's Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC), Walker laid out a space policy framework, which involved plans to "redirect NASA budgets towards deep space achievements rather than Earth-centric climate change spending."

Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA's associate administrator for science, took the opportunity to emphasize the importance of Earth science in a briefing about the upcoming launch of the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) at NASA Headquarters last November 10.

"NASA's work on Earth science is making a difference in people's lives all around the world every day," Zurbuchen said. "Earth science helps save lives. It also helps grow companies and creates an awareness of environmental challenges that affect our lives today and tomorrow," he added.

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