The fascination that mankind has had with space exploration has not dimmed in the slightest since the historic Moon Landings of yesteryear. In fact, the Trump Administration is pointing their scientific might right back toward our own moon for further exploration. President Trump, of the United States of America, announced that the country would next be focused on returning to the moon for exploration and thus far the resulting reaction from scientists around the world has been more than just mixed. President Trump announced the mission statement when he signed what was called the Space Policy Directive 1 back on December 11th. The directive shifted NASA’s resources away from other research topics, including Mars, in order to focus on a return trip.
Upon signing the Space Policy Directive 1, President Trump made the announcement that will perk the ears of every honest sci-fi fan and conspiracy theorist in the world, ” This time we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprint. We will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars.”
While President Trump’s words were certainly welcomed by a host of enthusiastic scientific professionals, other voices remain skeptical. A slew of scientists has already gone on record to say that the talk is simply “hot air” until something actually happens in terms of funding and actual effort. Stephen Kane, a scientist from the University of California, was one of the leading skeptics of the announcements. Kane’s research lies on exoplanet data and Kane would certainly be busy if the directive were to actually take some sort of measurable action.
Alan Stern is an investigator for the New Horizons Mission at NASA which seeks to map out and explore Pluto. Stern was less cynical about the directive than Kane and he admitted that he was excited about the potential that returning to the moon could bring. Stern would go on to say, “This administration really understands the value of space for American leadership in the world.” Stern went on to tout NASA’s ability to work with companies in the commercial sector in order to find solutions to help make the new directive a reality. Kane went on to compare space exploration to colonization and noted that America was much like Europe before ever coming to North America, at least in relation to space exploration.
A moon base could be the first stepping stones to a true manned mission to Mars. Will the Space Policy Directive 1 help to make this sci-fi dream a reality?