Trump’s Narcissistic Moon Landing Disaster
Trump is speeding up the Man Moon Landing from 10 years plus needed delays to six years max. This is purely to satisfy his EGO to have the glory of the landing occur before the end of his magnificent second term.
Trump will also gain from this year, which is the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing of Apollo 11, “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” by Neil Armstrong, and Buzz Aldrin, on July 20, 1969. There are events planned all year to celebrate this.
I am not predicting a disaster, which may be avoided because modern computer guidance and simulations, and 50 years of space experience gives us a much safer program than before. But overriding safety schedules to reduce a ten year program to six when not really needed for other than EGO satisfaction, is itself a disastrous way to proceed. Add to this the latest risk that to meet the EGO’s schedule, VP Pence announced that they may abandon the Boeing Space Launch System and its Orion crew capsule for a Elon Musk SpaceX Falcon Heavy rockets. President Trump has directed NASA headed by Jim Bridenstine to land on the moon “by any means possible”. This is the second path to a safety disaster.
We don’t know if the VP’s announcement was preceded by lengthy analysis and discussions with Boeing and SpaceX, and if they have definite plans to meet the schedule. That wouldn’t be typical of the way Trump has been acting lately. In general, Trump has been cutting regulations and therefore human safety in all areas of government, even if they are required by law, with the best scientific input. This would be another disaster of Trump’s program. The Apollo program was announced by Jack Kennedy in 1961, in a race to catch up with the USSR in space flight. So it took them 8 years. Six missions landed on the moon.
The rush for the announcement was also since India will hopefully land a rover with analysis this month. The US will launch a lander, and China will return samples this year. South Korea, Japan, Germany, and Russia will also land by the end of 2023. Russia, Japan, and China plan crewed landings in the 2030. Trump wants to beat that by 4 or 5 years, but even the standard schedule could get us there by 2029, and we would still be competitive.
We have learned a lot from moon rocks, and have just opened up another cache of them for analysis. We have seen from the Mars rovers and drillers, that you can explore planets with rovers, even from vast distances away. Soon, rovers will land on the moon to begin cheaper and faster exploration. That will be six or possible ten years before the actual US manned landings. Much more can be returned from the moon by unmanned landers, than having to also carry back men and their support supplies. This is the third disaster by Trump’s program. It’s not even clear what science will be learned, much less what is needed or advanced by manned exploration.
Today is a landmark. After a century of knowing about black holes, we have taken a picture of one. At the heart of M87. This rushed mission is a monetary and engineering black hole, diverting our best efforts from clean energy, where it is really needed. We also need to plan for massive aid and displacement programs when more effects of climate change occur in the US and around the world. This is the fourth disaster of Trump’s program.
I read that Trump had originally asked NASA if we could land a man on Mars in two years, obviously for the 2020 election. This is not the way to do scientific or even space exploration.
Is the main reason to go back to the moon just because China and other countries are going there? If it is to establish our scientific preeminence, that can easily be done by Trump not cutting the science budget, but actually increasing it. It can also be done by reaffirming our commitment to the Paris Climate Accords, and recognizing the universal acceptance of climate science, and acting on previous sustainability goals. This will actually benefit not only ourselves but all the other people on the planet. On the other hand, wasting trillions of dollars on manned moon landings and then continuously supporting a manned colony there at one spot, and looking to men on Mars, when the world needs trillions invested in clean energy in the next two decades is utter foolishness. This is the fifth disaster of Trump’s moon program. And to do it just to satisfy the EGO and political ambitions of Trump is ridiculous.
After six more years of climate change enhanced storms, floods, heat waves, droughts, polar vortex winter freezes and world climate refugee flows, it may well be that most of the American people can no longer stand for Trump’s climate change denial.
We have to ask why did Trump let VP Mike Pence announce this program? This is pure speculation on my part, but Trump senses the risks involved, and would rather have the blame fall on Pence. Of course, if it is a success, Trump will take full credit.
Trump’s reelection strategy is to claim that he is the only one who can solve our problems, but he is putting off the solution until he is reelected with a Republican House. Not that he is letting the House put any crimp on what he can do with Executive Orders, comprehensive National Emergencies, and 5,000 got-his-back political appointees. He may even excite us with his moon program to win the 2020 election.
It’s time to make sure that sanity guides our future.