Donald Trump's Space Policy: Exploring Mars and Beyond
Before being hailed as the presumptive President of the United States of America, Donald Trump has openly declared to the public that he will eliminate many policies implemented by President Barack Obama. Thus, many have been asking, will the plan to send the first men on the Red Planet push through?
Trump's public speeches suggest space exploration will not be neglected during his administration. IB Times quoted Trump in one of his rallies in October. The report commented that his statement seem to reflect that Trump is on board with space exploration.
"I will free NASA from the restriction of serving primarily as a logistical agency for low-Earth-orbit activities," Trump said. "We will instead refocus on space exploration. Under a Trump administration, Florida and America will lead the way into the stars."
Forbe's Bruce Dorminey had an interview with Robert Walker, a senior advisor to the Trump campaign. Walker openly said that Mars and what's beyond would definitely be a part of Trump's space plans.
"The specifics of missions will be determined within the overall goal of human exploration of the solar system, but clearly, the long-term, overall goal of Trump space policy anticipates human exploration far beyond low-Earth orbit and even beyond Mars," the former Pennsylvania Republican Congressman said.
Walker, together with Navarro also wrote an Op-ed published in Space News saying that the fundamental underpinnings of a Trump civilian space program is to make NASA's core missions inspirational.
How will Trump support NASA to achieve such ambitious goals? Industry experts speculate that while Trump will remove most of Obama's policies, he will likely increase NASA's overall budget. The additional budget for Mars exploration could be drawn out from the budget of projects heavily supported by Obama.
Space.com reported that at present, NASA is working on a capsule called Orion and a massive rocket known as the Space Launch System (SLS) to catapult astronauts to distant destinations, such as Mars. The manned-Mars mission is planned to be launched on the first half of the 2030s.