Donald Trump promises that he will 'unlock the mysteries of space' as President

President Trump is expected to shift Nasa away from doing any of its work in tracking and responding to climate change and global warming – and instead focus on heading to deep space

Andrew Griffin
Friday 20 January 2017 19:59 GMT
Women in 60 countries and on seven continents will be taking to the streets to promote equal rights for women and defend marginalised groups
Women in 60 countries and on seven continents will be taking to the streets to promote equal rights for women and defend marginalised groups (Getty Images)

Donald Trump has promised to "unlock the mysteries of space" in his time as President.

The commitment came as one of a range of vague commitments made as part of his inauguration speech.

Following a long passage in which he berated politicians for talking too much, President Trump said that "The time for empty talk is over". "Now arrives the hour of action," he said.

The first of those actions was his commitment to head to space. He didn't say which mysteries he was looking to unlock, or how he would do it.

"We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow," he said. "A new national pride will stir ourselves, lift our sights and heal our divisions."

President Trump has said little about his plans for space travel and exploration. But what he has said suggests that he is very keen on exploring the solar system and beyond, and it is thought that he may seek to increase Nasa's budget for that work – while defunding almost the entirety of its climate change analysis work.

At a rally just two weeks before the election, for instance, he said that he would look to focus on exploring deep space.

"I will free NASA from the restriction of serving primarily as a logistics agency for low-Earth orbit activity—big deal," he told a Florida rally on 25 October. "Instead, we will refocus its mission on space exploration. Under a Trump Administration, Florida and America will lead the way into the stars."

On 20 October, his senior policy advisors echoed the idea that he would look to explore deep space – and stop doing the Earth-focused activities like looking at global warming.

"NASA should be focused primarily on deep space activities rather than Earth-centric work that is better handled by other agencies," they wrote in SpaceNews. "Human exploration of our entire solar system by the end of this century should be NASA’s focus and goal. Developing the technologies to meet that goal would severely challenge our present knowledge base, but that should be a reason for exploration and science."

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Much of Mr Trump's statements about space travel seem to suggest that he will support the involvement of private businesses in space travel, a trend that also increased through Barack Obama's presidency. Both SpaceX and Blue Origin are looking to take over from Nasa to launch their own rockets, for instance.

"A cornerstone of my policy is we will substantially expand public private partnerships to maximize the amount of investment and funding that is available for space exploration and development," he said in a same speech in Florida. "This means launching and operating major space assets, right here, that employ thousands and spur innovation and fuel economic growth."

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