Will Donald Trump Revamp NASA’s Plans for a Mission to Mars?

Flickr / Kevin M. Gill

He has yet to say anything specific with regards to NASA and U.S. space policy, but it’s possible that President Donald Trump may embrace goals to send humans to Mars.

SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has already visited the Trump Tower twice, and they’ve discussed Musks goals for sending astronauts to Mars. Musk hopes to colonize the Red Planet one day, and he believes SpaceX can finally get human boots on the ground potentially as soon as 2024.

Although Musk doesn’t seem to groove well Trump’s politics, they do agree on one thing: Trump seems enthusiastic about the private sector’s role in space exploration. He may be looking for more ways to downsize NASA’s presence in space in an effort to allow SpaceX and others to take on prominence and fulfill many of NASA’s goals on their own.

Also, while working on his inaugural speech, Trump showed interest in Former President John F. Kennedy’s goal to send people to the moon when speaking with historian Douglas Brinkley. While Brinkley talked about Kennedy and his moon shot, Trump expressed admiration for the former president.

Trump hasn’t mentioned specific proposals about going to Mars, and heavy spending on the probably will not sit well with the Republican-controlled Congress. It’s still unclear if they would embrace a return to the moon — a less costly endeavor that’s still hampered by a more shaky justification.

Former President George W. Bush had wanted to send humans back to the moon, and NASA put together a moon program called Constellation. Former President Barack Obama scrapped the idea, a move that Trump criticized. But sending people back to the moon might be a stepping stone for a mission to our neighboring planet. While this is good news for space travel, let’s hope Trump changes his mind and supports NASA’s other initiatives on climate change.

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