Trump and Space Science

Punditry has taken a hit this election season, so it might be foolish  to speculate as to how space science might flourish (or not) with a new Trump administration, but I figured that with all the time I spend thinking about speculative fiction, I might as well think about some speculative non-fiction.

The Republican congress has often been critical of NASA’s involvement in climate science, so it probably isn’t too much of a stretch to suspect that the new administration and Congress together may attempt to significantly reduce funding to NASA in the area of climate science and related observations of the Earth’s atmosphere by satellite. They may shift some of this funding to NOAA, or eliminate it completely.

Probably “deep space” missions (the core mission of NASA to send probes to other planets, etc.)  will stay about the same. However, if there is general pressure to cut everything in government than certainly NASA probes will be ripe for cuts as well, meaning that some missions will just be delayed, but perhaps some would be cut entirely.

Human spaceflight might actually improve a bit. America’s relationship with Russia (for better or for worse) may actually improve due to Trump and Putin’s seemingly positive rapport. US/Russian space-related interaction wasn’t so bad before, but until we start using our own US rockets to send astronauts to the International Space Station, we will rely on Russian good will (also, of course, we pay them many millions for this service!).

In addition, with Trump being an entrepreneur himself, it seems likely (but not inevitable) that he will encourage more rocket development by private companies (Space X, ULA, Orbital Sciences, etc.). This could be a net positive, but perhaps not if companies are not careful, or try to cut corners (safety concerns) in the faster path to space.

And…don’t forget my new book, The Physics and Astronomy of Science Fiction by Steven D. Bloom and published by McFarland.


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