Trump: ‘Unlock the mysteries of space’ once again
Reagan: Sweep of mankind as “his long climb from the swamp to the stars.”
Forty-five years ago today, NASA’s final Apollo mission landed on the surface of the Moon. No human has walked there since. Astronaut Jack Schmidt is the last living person to have walked on the Moon and was in attendance at the White House today during a special signing to recommission America to space exploration.
In his Inaugural Address, President Donald J. Trump recommitted our nation to in his words “unlock the mysteries of space” once again. This afternoon, President Trump told the country that it’s time to refocus our vision for American space exploration. Included in his address to the nation were space pioneers Jack Schimdt and Dr. Peggy Whitson, who in April broke the record for the most time spent in space of any American astronaut.
In signing Space Policy Directive 1 today—the first recommendation of the recently reconvened National Space Council—the President shifts NASA’s resources and attention toward the Moon and Mars. Given its relative closeness, the Moon in particular offers humans the best hope for long-term exploration and utilization.
President Ronald Reagan once eloquently captured the sweep of mankind as “his long climb from the swamp to the stars.” With President Trump’s order today, America commits itself once again to writing the next chapter of that story.
Vice President Mike Pence, who leads the National Space Council said this signing brings a renewed sense of purpose to America’s space policy that will benefit literally every facet of our national life. Just like it’s done in the past.
“We will strengthen our economy, we will unlock new opportunities, new technologies, and new sources of prosperity” –Vice President Pence
“By the President’s actions, we will strengthen our economy, we will unlock new opportunities, new technologies, and new sources of prosperity,” Vice President Pence said earlier. “We’ll inspire our children to seek education in science, technology, engineering, and math. We’ll enhance our common defense and advance the security of the American people.”
“But most of all, under President Donald Trump, American leadership in space will strengthen the American spirit,” Pence continued. “Today, President Trump recommits us, as a nation, to do what Americans have always done — to lead, to push the boundaries of human knowledge, to blaze new trails into the unknown and astonish the world with the courage and leadership of the United States.”
In April President Trump signed the Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act to encourage female participation in STEM fields, with a particular focus on NASA. “STEM on Station” is comprised of education activities that follow astronauts as they demonstrate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) concepts such as Newton’s Laws of Motion, surface tension, and advancements in technology.
“Encouraging women and girls to pursue STEM careers is a major priority for this administration,” Ivanka Trump said during the White House call with her father and NASA Astronaut Kate Rubins to the International Space Station in April. “And today we are sitting with an amazing example of that — Dr. Rubins, and you, Dr. Whitson. So I would love to hear from you, what was the impetus for you to get involved in the sciences?”
Dr. Rubins, who was the first person to sequence DNA in space, credited a conference that she attended when she was 15-years-old with piquing her interest in science.
Commander Whitson said she was inspired by NASA’s famed Apollo program. “That was when it became a dream to become an astronaut,” she said. “But I don’t really think it became a goal until I graduated from high school, when the first female astronauts were selected. And seeing those role models, and with the encouragement of my parents and various mentors in college and graduate school… that’s what made it possible.”
Dr. Rubins and Commander Whitson are inspiring a new generation of Americans to look to the stars and, as President Trump said in his first address to a Joint Session of Congress, realize that “American footsteps on foreign worlds are not too big a dream.”
President George H.W. Bush established the National Space Council in 1989. The Council was tasked with advising and assisting the President regarding national space policy and strategy. Before Charles Bolden became the NASA Administrator under Barack Obama, the then president charge him “to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science … and math and engineering.”