back to article Moon trumps Mars in new US space policy

The United States' National Space Council Policy has met for the first time in 25 years and issued a new “Policy for Future American Leadership in Space”. The Council was revived by president Donald Trump in a June 2017 executive order, after it stopped operating in 1993. Re-establishing the Council was a Trump policy. The …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The vice-president's response was to say “America must be as dominant in space as we are here on Earth” ...

    Statements like this one is a sure-fire way to keep old friends and gain trust of the new ones. Especially coming from a nation which still has to hitch rides from those it treats like enemies - both in space and here on Earth.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      “America must be as dominant in space as we are here on Earth”

      As 'outer space' is a non weaponised environment (since 1967), wouldn't an ISS style spirit of co-operation be more useful and cheaper? Why the obsession with one nation being 'dominant' in an area where science and progress should be the only dominant thing? Does the Vice President have a micro-penis, that he's trying to compensate for?

      1. andy gibson

        Does the Vice President have a micro-penis, that he's trying to compensate for?

        Yes, its called Donald.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Policy for Future American Leadership in Space

      ...and "America must be as dominant in space as we are here on Earth”

      It's really difficult not to interpret statements like these as indicative of a deeply rooted feeling of insecurity and paranoia in the American psyche.

      Why, when the U.S. actually has a record of high achievement, should it feel this way? There must be an underlying reason for it.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Policy for Future American Leadership in Space

        "indicative of a deeply rooted feeling of insecurity and paranoia in the American psyche."

        No. Think of it as part of "Make America Great Again". We used to lead everyone in things like this. The reasons why we do NOT do so now stem from "globalism", socialism, and various policies that stifle the private sector.

        Besides, so many technologies sprung from the space program in the 1960's, we oughta just do it for that reason alone... [except for those who want to 'hold back our technological development' 'for our own good', this should be perceived as a GOOD thing!]

        What I see being different is the role of the PRIVATE sector, this time around. Trump kept saying 'commercial interests' and so I bet that's what he's thinking. I think it's an EXCELLENT idea, and it can begin with the licensing of even MORE private space stuff.

        As for Elon's Mars trip - interesting, but the reason _I_ would want to go to Mars would be to ESCAPE the SOCIALISM. Problem with Elon's plan, is that he'll have SOCIALISM ARRIVE BEFORE WE GET THERE.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Policy for Future American Leadership in Space

          > Think of it as part of "Make America Great Again"

          What they're succeeding admirably at is making America grate with its allies.

        2. Rattus Rattus

          Re: Policy for Future American Leadership in Space

          Bob you clearly have no idea what socialism even is.

        3. Potemkine! Silver badge

          Re: Policy for Future American Leadership in Space

          "We used to lead everyone in things like this"

          You mean, like the first artificial satellite? The first man in space? The first woman in space? The first space walk? The first fly-by of another planet? The first soft-landing on the moon?

          1. Alister Silver badge

            Re: Policy for Future American Leadership in Space

            Yeah, I blame the Russians.

            Oh, sorry, wrong thread...

      2. Swarthy Silver badge
        Alert

        Re: Policy for Future American Leadership in Space

        "indicative of a deeply rooted feeling of insecurity and paranoia in the American psyche."
        That would actually explain a lot about where America is right now with regards to mass shootings, gun control debate, economics, driving habits, and interpersonal relations.

        Oh! shit.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Gene Cash Silver badge

    F*cking losers

    This sort of off-again on-again crap is why NASA can't get it's shit together and accomplish anything.

    Not that we can do anything in space anyway. We can't even put people in low Earth orbit. We have to ask the Russians to do that for us.

    The head of the real American space program is named Elon Musk.

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: F*cking losers

      This sort of off-again on-again crap is why NASA can't get it's shit together and accomplish anything.

      It might also have something to do with members of congress being bought-off by the big aerospace companies to keep their plants open, despite the projects they're working on being turkeys.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: F*cking losers

        That's how the US maintains the most subsidised aerospace industry on the planet. Lucky for them that the WTO is deaf and blind except when it can serve US interests.

  3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Someone read the Chinese Space program

    Someone read the Chinese space program and realized that if they succeed things will get really really interesting in near-Earth space. As a result we suddenly perform a volte-face and are now interested in the moon again.

    Now, let's see how long until they finally realize that neither the moon, nor Mars are of any LONG TERM space-political value. He, who controls L1, L2, L3, L4 controls all space economically feasible long range space traffic from and to Earth (and Luna for that matter).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He, who controls L1, L2, L3, L4 controls all space

      And what about the spice? Huh?

      1. Blake St. Claire

        Re: He, who controls L1, L2, L3, L4 controls all space

        > And what about the spice? Huh?

        Today L1, tomorrow Arrakis.

        But first we need to get Baron Harkonnen out of the White House.

        1. lorisarvendu
          Trollface

          Re: He, who controls L1, L2, L3, L4 controls all space

          But first we need to get Baron Harkonnen out of the White House."

          Cue "Bene Gesserit Gaius Hillary Mohiam" jokes.

          1. Symon Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: He, who controls L1, L2, L3, L4 controls all space

            Ah, Lagrange points. I thought you were talking about lumbar vertebrae. Anyway, whichever you meant, you forgot L5.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: "neither the moon, nor Mars are of any LONG TERM space-political value"

      I beg to differ. Either one allows us to have members of the human species elsewhere than on a single planet, which has the long term interest of keeping our species alive in case Earth gets wiped out by a major asteroid strike.

      As for the Lagrange points, they only cover Earth access. When we finally become a space-faring species, that will have zero effect on colonies situated in the Outer Planet area. Assuming we get some people over there, of course.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "neither the moon, nor Mars are of any LONG TERM space-political value"

        Either one allows us to have members of the human species elsewhere than on a single planet

        But they are not talking about sending humans to the moon, they are talking about sending Americans to the moon. Big difference.

  4. hplasm Silver badge
    Gimp

    The Moon is a harsh mistress.

    Politicians have heard this, and it has whetted their appetites...

    Icon obvious.

  5. Nolveys Silver badge

    America must be as dominant in space as we are here on Earth

    I'm hoping for a giant Trump head in orbit with megawatt lasers in the eyes.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      I'm hoping for a giant Trump head in orbit with megawatt lasers in the eyes.

      But that would lead to a Sean Connery type in a thong...

      My eyes!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm hoping for a giant Trump head in orbit with megawatt lasers in the eyes.

        We all know how the big giant head got his job, he kissed the big giant butt.

    2. Captain DaFt

      I'm hoping for a giant Trump head in orbit with megawatt lasers in the eyes.

      Nah, it'll have gigawatt speakers blatting out trump's latest tweets and ads sold to the highest bidder.

      Wait, you say sound doesn't travel in space? That's 'fake news' spread by Trump's enemies! Gigawatts man, Gigawatts!

    3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      America must be as dominant in space as we are here on Earth

      That'll be a Trump Golf Resort on the Moon

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The way I understand it is that we don't have a moon base for two reasons.

    Gravity and Asteroids. You can't simulate gravity using spinning and as you can clearly see the moon has already been battered by asteroids so you would need some sort of protection.

    Am I right?

    1. Mikel

      Am I right?

      No. You can simulate gravity using spinning just fine. Just like we do on Earth for high-g pilot training and, of course, centrifuge for various purposes.

      As for sheltered habitat, the moon has capacious lava tubes available with ample space for a million inhabitants or more, and these likely have water ice in them.

      Musk isn't interested in the moon because a) people have already been there and b) it's not far enough to be safe from various doomsday scenarios (comet, asteroid, plague, a Trump dynasty).

      1. lorisarvendu

        Re: Am I right?

        I think the AC means we can't increase the Moon's gravity to 1G by spinning the Moon.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Am I right?

          "I think the AC means we can't increase the Moon's gravity to 1G by spinning the Moon."

          We can, but you'd need to be on the inside. If the stresses didn't turn it into a myriad of smaller moons.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. bollos

      old events.

      i think the moon was hit by early solar system objects. is it hit by objects nowadays?

      1. Simon Harris Silver badge
        1. CountZer0
          Boffin

          Re: old events.

          Where as I wouldn't be in a position to differ, those boffins at NASA might:

          https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/goddard/2016/lro-lunar-cratering

          ...Around 200 decent craters from 2009-2016, and a lot of secondary debris from smaller stuff.

          Tinfoil hats on lads! (any one of three icons here - which to choose?)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Is it hit by objects nowadays?

        Impacts still occur on all bodies in the Solar System, in proportion to their cross-sectional area. For example, the Earth, with a cross-sectional area of 127516118 km2 will receive about 13.45 times as many impacts as the Moon, with its cross-sectional area of just 9478716 km2

        However, the chances of an impact at any specific location, on any specific body, is the same across all bodies, so you'd be as likely to suffer an impact on a Moon base as you would in any particular city on Earth.

        On the other hand though, the lack of an atmosphere on the Moon would likely ameliorate the effects of a large impact there, unless it was a more or less direct hit, because the atmosphere on Earth would act as a conductor for the energy of an impact Earth and carry it further away from the impact site in the form of shockwaves and high-speed winds, which can't happen on the Moon. There's not much to catch fire and burn on the surface of the Moon either.

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: Is it hit by objects nowadays?

          > so you'd be as likely to suffer an impact on a Moon base as you would in any particular city on Earth.

          Most small objects falling towards the Earth burn up in the atmosphere before they get close to the ground (cf "falling stars"). On the Moon a small rock could be disastrous if it punctured a building.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: old events.

        "i think the moon was hit by early solar system objects. is it hit by objects nowadays?"

        Probably more than the Earth in proportion to the target area. No atmosphere to burn up the smaller stuff. A pea sized object won't make it to Earths surface but would kill like a gun shot on the moon.

  7. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Joke

    Law of averages...

    "Re-establishing the Council was a Trump policy."

    Well, I guess with the sheer volume of shit policies, there had to be a decent one in there somewhere!

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Law of averages...

      That is not actually a joke ;)

      Seriously though : whaddya know ? Trump can finally honestly say that he has accomplished something !

      1. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: Law of averages...

        Re-opening a committee is hardly an achievement.

        Re-establishing manned launch capabilities and lunar activities would be an achievement.

      2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Law of averages...

        Trump can finally honestly say that he has accomplished something !

        Reinstating the committee means nothing unless there's money to fund the projects they come up with.

  8. Anne-Lise Pasch

    "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?"

  9. smudge Silver badge
    Alien

    Given the nationalist language used...

    ... I am surprised that they didn't announce plans to build a wall around space to keep out undesirables.

    1. Anonymous Blowhard

      Re: Given the nationalist language used...

      Like this one?

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1054485/mediaviewer/rm1614091008

    2. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: Given the nationalist language used...

      They're waiting for SETI to find someone to pay for it...

    3. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Given the nationalist language used...

      Not round it - to it.

    4. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Given the nationalist language used...

      OMG, are you telling me if only we explain Trump what a Dyson sphere is we might actually get a shot at getting one built...?

      1. Simon Harris Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Given the nationalist language used...

        Dyson spheres...

        Aren't they using those on the latest versions of their vacuum cleaners instead of wheels?

    5. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Given the nationalist language used...

      > build a wall around space

      I thought that Pence was a 'flat-earther' and thus there already was one that is called the firmament.

  10. lglethal Silver badge
    Go

    Direction is one thing...

    Direction is easy to give, but until it's backed up with sufficient funding it's just talk and about as useful as a submarine with fly screen windows.

    Since there's no talk of extra budget to make all of these lunar dreams come true, dont expect too much in the way of changes from NASA - Little things like long term contracts on current projects mean that you cant change direction on a whim. So NASA can say they will change things to meet the new goals but until new money arrives on the table, nothing changes... and thank the heavens for that or you would never get any science mission off the ground with the way NASA gets messed about...

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Direction is one thing...

      Directing NASA funds from anything "global warming" towards the moon is what Ted Cruz wants, perhaps that is all regarding the direction here.

      1. Lars Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Direction is one thing...

        Forgot this clip about Ted Cruz, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=peL7Qecg3qQ

    2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Direction is one thing...

      > until it's backed up with sufficient funding

      It isn't about funding, it is announcing what Musk will be doing anyway so that they can claim credit for it.

  11. bollos

    correct title?

    shouldn't that be "The United States' National Space Policy Council"?

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Go

      Re: correct title?

      Completely Off Topic, but does anyone else see the irony in the USA being the United States of America these days. It's hard to think of a less united Nation state - maybe Iraq, Syria and Libya, but not too many more spring to mind as being so deeply divided.

      1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

        Re: correct title?

        Even more ironically, I personally think the United Kingdom comes a close second.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: correct title?

          "Even more ironically, I personally think the United Kingdom comes a close second."

          Spain may have just pushed the UK into 3rd place.

      2. Lars Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: correct title?

        "irony in the USA being the United States of America". Well, the UK comes to my mind, too close for confort I suppose, lglethan.

        1. lglethal Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: correct title?

          Nice try Lars but I'm not a brit, so no not too close to home.

          The United Kingdom might be a bit divided over Brexit, but from having lived there a few years back, most Welsh folk are happy to be part of the UK, and most Scots are realistic enough to know that it's in their best interest to stay in the Union (or it was up until Brexit, that really pissed off most of my scottish mates). And about 50% of NI really want to stay in whilst the other half really want out.

          Still no-one is going on murderous rampages in the UK. So your still winning that front by a long way...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Asteroid mining ?

    I'd have thought a better use of resources - especially since it would be an essential component of any off-earth colonisation programme - would be to get asteroid mining to be viable.

    No, let me guess ... the last thing any of the vested mining interests that prop up the Trumpster wants is a glut of their special sauce ?

    I wonder if there's a possibility of mining frozen helium ??????

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Asteroid mining ?

      I doubt there's frozen helium anywhere out there.

      Someone just found a lot on earth too so not so valuable now.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Asteroid mining ?

        "I doubt there's frozen helium anywhere out there."

        He may have been thinking of He3

  13. phuzz Silver badge
    Trollface

    UPDATE

    VP Pence has reversed direction on space policy after being informed that the Man in the Moon was in fact kneeling.

  14. Andyf

    If only....

    I can't be the only one that read the phrase “Policy for Future American Leadership in Space” and hoped it meant they were planning to launch The Orange One into orbit, or beyond?

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

    Sounds like 2004 all over again, when GW Bush Proposed new launch systems, which were supposed to be supporting the ISS by 2014, leading to a Moon landing in 2020. I suspect the same outcome from Trump's speech.

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Sounds like 2004 all over again, when GW Bush Proposed new launch systems subsidies for Boeing and Lockheed

      FTFY

  17. Dr. G. Freeman

    So What's the odds of getting someone on the moon before the centenary of them doing it the first time ?

    Slim ? None ?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Depends on which nation or commercial operation you are referring to :-)

  18. DougS Silver badge

    Anti satellite warfare is self defeating

    We don't need to worry about Russia or China destroying our satellites. The debris would spread and affect their own before long, it is a terrible strategy for any country who depends on space. Someone who might do it though is Kim Jung Il. North Korea has no satellites, so he would have no assets to lose by such an attack.

    Or worse, a nuke exploded in space that could fry a heck of a lot of satellites all at once from the EMP (and depending on the altitude, perhaps a lot on the ground too) Since an EMP doesn't discriminate, it wouldn't affect just the US but also China and Russia, meaning his days would probably be numbered in the single digits after that. They are perhaps a bit less concerned than us about what happens to Seoul if North Korea retaliates (particularly China, since that only helps their industry with the South Korea chaebols like Samsung out of commission)

    Now a maneuverable satellite that trailed a 'net' to capture and de-orbit other enemy satellites might be a viable strategy, but countries that lacked that capability might decide blowing it up and risking scattered debris would be preferable to allowing the enemy to pick off your critical satellites one by one.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SpaceX

    The US space policy should be simple. Give SpaceX a wodge of cash to build launchers and then NASA can just concentrate on what it does best, building the probes to ride the launchers.

    With NASA launcher timelines, there will be Muskonauts climbing Olympus Mons, before NASA gets back to Luna orbit.

  20. Winkypop Silver badge
    Alien

    Meanwhile on the Moon....

    "There goes the neighbourhood."

    "I wonder what Uranus is like this time of year"

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    -1

    I am assuming that all of the (at time of writing) solitary downvotes on every comment which in any way mocks the Great Trumpeter (so bigly unfair) must be from “bombastic bob”...?

    (...waiting for my downvote)

  22. Matthew 17

    Needs to happen

    They've been a load of space stations, they're always temporary structures that eventually get dumped in the ocean. The only reason there's the current space station is due to the lemon of a transport vehicle that was the space shuttle. The US government junked Apollo and they had to start again, spent far more money on building something that wasn't as good and considerably less safe to fly. If they'd kept Apollo they could have had a decades old moon base and more by now.

    If they don't do this they'll end up with nothing, no ISS and China, Russia, Musk or whomever will set something up there. Going direct to Mars is far more complex than having something as a launch point, the Moon is ideal for this. Learning how to mine the Moon and building things there will provide invaluable data for doing the same on Mars and beyond. It's sat right there an is only a few days away, criminal that it's been ignored for nearly 45 years

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