Robert Bigelow of Bigelow Aerospace opened his new Twitter account with the suggestion that Donald Trump, the mercurial businessman who is running for president, might just give the United States an inspirational space program. Then, thinking better of the idea, Bigelow deleted the tweet and replaced it with an image of the Olympus inflatable space module, which his company envisions as being the basis of a commercial space station.
The tweet read, “What this country needs is an inspirational space program. I’ll bet @realDonaldTrump could do it.” The statement is accurate, given a President Trump, but the question arises, would he want to?
Bigelow is not the first to suggest that one way Trump could “make America great again” would be to ramp up space activities. Writing in Breitbart Tech, Milo Yiannopoulos made the same suggestion.
“Once upon a time, NASA seemed to show us that there were no limits to human, specifically American, ingenuity. We looked to the stars and wondered how to travel to them, and an entire nation came together around the TV screen to watch this take place. It was one of the most classic, and iconic, symbols of American greatness.
“At the same time, NASA’s achievements were an important source of national pride and political unity. Apollo 11 landed on the Moon under Lyndon B. Johnson, while the Space Shuttles took off under Reagan. Our parents didn’t watch the launch of these awe-inspiring missions as Republicans or Democrats; they watched them as Americans. It was one of the clearest pieces of evidence that America was in fact the leader of the free world.”
Yiannopoulos is looking at history with rose colored glasses. NASA has involved plenty of politics and President Barack Obama is not the first to have a malign influence on the fortunes of the space program. Reasons exist for the fact that no one has been to the moon since 1972.
In any case, anyone hoping that the Donald will jump start the space program may have to get used to disappointment. On two occasions, once when a Harvard Medical School & MIT research fellow put to Trump the question of going to Mars and again when a ten year old boy asked the same question, the candidate opined that Mars would be a fine thing but would have to wait until America’s infrastructure is fixed.
On the other hand, Trump has thus far been silent about a return to the moon. So, hope may not be in vain after all.
Update: The tweet is back up.