|Arthur Dominic Villasanta |||Feb 10, 2017 07:56 AM EST|
(Photo : NASA) False color image of the Moon.
Leaked documents show the Trump's administration space program involves the U.S. again landing its astronauts on the Moon and embarking on "the large-scale economic development of space."
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If proven accurate, the documents will largely invalidate NASA's current program that bypasses any Moon mission altogether in favor of manned landings on asteroids and on one of Mars' moons before a manned landing on Mars itself, probably by 2035.
The proposed space program urges a "rapid and affordable" return to the Moon by 2020. It provides for the construction of privately operated space stations and a redirection of NASA's mission towards "the large-scale economic development of space."
American media said this redirection is pitting NASA scientists against billionaire businessmen supporting Trump that want the space agency to become a money making venture and not a tool for scientific research.
Privatizing the U.S.' space efforts is the main aim of the billionaire boys club, whose goal now is to get Trump to appoint a NASA deputy administrator who supports their money-making faction called "New Space" against the science faction called "Old Space." The deputy administrator runs NASA's day-to-day operations.
Media reports say New Space represented by Elon Musk of SpaceX and Jeff Bezos of Blue Origin and their supporters have a clear upper hand at NASA.
NASA has released a statement about the administration's proposed plans while remaining silent on the corrosive infighting between businessmen and scientists.
NASA said it's focused on the future, "one that will ... advance America's technology and innovation leadership; see the full potential of research on the International Space Station; extend human presence deeper into space as part of our Journey to Mars; better understand our changing home planet from NASA's unique platforms in space; foster and grow a commercial space industry that is ready to move to the next level and return the flight to American astronauts to U.S. soil, and advance new frontiers in our solar system and beyond."
"NASA believes that future leaders will be enthusiastic about continuing the important work that NASA has been engaged in over these past several years, including the Journey to Mars. This includes leaders both today and tomorrow; be they leaders in government, industry, academia and civic life.
"A consensus has been emerging in the scientific and policy communities around NASA's Journey to Mars; specifically around our plan, timetable and strategy for sending human beings to Mars in the 2030s. There is widespread recognition that NASA's plan is clear, affordable, sustainable and attainable. This consensus is stretching not only across the aisle, but across the public, private, academic and non-profit sectors. And, our international partners have expressed enthusiasm for the Journey to Mars."
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