Sunday, November 6, 2016

U.S. Space Program: Views of Presidential Candidates

Image result for nasa images james irwin on the moon
This NASA photograph shows Pittsburgh native James Irwin, the eighth man to walk on
the Moon, placing Moon rocks in the electric Lunar Roving Vehicle, during the Apollo 15
mission in July of 1971. More information on James Irwin:
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By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

Well, during this year's U.S. Presidential campaign there has been a great deal of discussion about many things, and occasionally even some discussion of public policy! However, there has been very little public discussion of space exploration policy.

The following are brief summaries of the views of the major political candidates for the U.S. Presidency regarding NASA and space exploration. The most recent information found is provided here.

Where available, links to Internet web sites with further information are provided at the end of this blog-post.

Nominee of the Democratic Party: Hillary Rodham Clinton - Former U.S. Secretary of State and U.S. Senator (D-New York) ---

Written response to questions posed by - 2016 October 10:

"If elected, I will support NASA’s efforts to drive innovation and advance the technology that expands our understanding of the Earth, the solar system and the universe, and provides global leadership that enables humanity to explore beyond our home planet. NASA’s missions must both bring scientific, economic and educational value to our country and capture our imaginations."

"Since the success of Apollo, NASA has not focused on a singular goal,  but has involved instead to serve a wide range of national functions. We must increase investments in science, technology and infrastructure, in STEM education, and in public outreach to ensure that NASA continues to capture our imaginations, contribute to our economy, and drive human understanding forward."

"I have always been an enthusiastic supporter of human space flight. My administration will continue to invest in this worthwhile endeavor. Mars is a consensus horizon goal, though to send humans safely, we still need to advance the technologies required to mitigate the effects of long-duration, deep-space flight."

Nominee of the Republican Party: Donald J. Trump - Businessman and real estate tycoon ---

Written response to questions posed by - 2016 October 10:

"My administration will examine spending priorities and will make adjustments as necessary. However, as a businessman, I am mindful of the many benefits, inventions and scientific breakthroughs that would not have been possible without the space program, and that has to be thrown into the calculus, as well."

"Our civilian space program should reflect the scientific priorities and aspirations of our society. Congress will be a full partner in shaping those priorities as the people’s representatives."
On the Mars goal for human spaceflight: "After taking office, we will have a comprehensive review of our plans for space, and will work with Congress to set both priorities and mission."

Nominee of the Libertarian Party: Gary Johnson - Former New Mexico Governor ---

For questions posed by (released September 21), Gary Johnson responded:

Private corporations are increasingly interested in space travel, and the private sector has access to far more resources than the public, so we welcome private participation and even dominance in space exploration.

According to a June 17 post on the Internet Web Site,

In order to decrease the federal budget, Johnson said he would cut NASA spending by 43 percent. He hopes that private companies would be able to make up for that difference. 

On September 25 on the ABC-TV News program, This Week, Gary Johnson said:

We do have to inhabit other planets. The future of the human race is space exploration.” He made this statement to program host George Stephanopoulos, in response to a question regarding how to address Climate Change.

Former Governor Johnson has been derided for a 2011 comment about Climate Change, which he now says was simply a joke, that “in billions of years the sun is going to actually grow and encompass the earth.” Although scientists do think this may be one possible long-term fate of our planet, it certainly is not an answer to Climate Change problems of today.

Nominee of the Green Party: Jill Stein – Physician ---

For questions posed by (released September 13), Jill Stein responded:

We recognize the inspiration provided by space exploration and so we support:

1. the peaceful exploration of space

2. space-based systems to monitor environmental conditions on Earth

3. measures to ensure that space technology benefits all the people of Earth

Space exploration and science are international scientific endeavours requiring cooperation between many nations and peoples across borders. The peaceful exploration of space provides inspiration, education, and valuable scientific knowledge. Cooperation on space science and exploration is a promising path to peace. The US has an opportunity to continue leading in space science while ending space militarization. The US can lead international collaboration in space science and exploration without privatizing outer space or turning over space science and exploration efforts to corporations.

Climate science, including the study of other planets in our solar system and beyond, is essential for understanding how to address climate change on Earth. Space science, exploration, and Earth observation provide tools, technologies, and science to help address not only climate change but flooding, drought, storms, famine, and other crises. By focusing US space efforts away from corporate and military interests, we can work to create peace here on Earth and in space, prevent the deployment of space weapons and instead focus on technologies to solve problems on Earth, not create new ones.

Here are steps we will take to advance space exploration and science:

- Funding STEM education and forgiving student debt of STEM scholars so they can focus on science and research.

- signing of the International Treaty for the Demilitarization of Space.

- Ensuring scientists, not corporate or military interests, are driving the space exploration and science agenda

- Ensure funding of pure research, for the benefit of all humanity and our planet.

- Work closely with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) on ensuring the peaceful exploration of space.

From a Wikipedia article on Jill Stein and her political positions:

In 2012 (when Jill Stein also ran for the U.S. Presidency on the Green Party ticket), Vote Smart reported that Stein wanted to "slightly decrease" spending on space exploration. She favored maintaining current levels of spending on scientific and medical research. In 2016, Stein said NASA funding should be increased, arguing that by halving the military budget, more money could be directed towards "exploring space instead of destroying planet Earth."

Independent Candidate Evan McMullin - Former Republican Policy Director & Intelligence Officer ---

Very little is known about Evan McMullin's position on the Space Program. According to the Internet Web Site,, when asked, “Should the government fund space travel?”, Mr. McMullin's response was simply, “Yes.”

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Science Debate Science Questions to Presidential Candidates:
Link >>>

Space Policy Questions to Presidential Candidates ---

 "Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump weigh in on U.S. space policy."
SpaceNews Magazine 2016 Oct. 10.
Link >>>

Former U.S. Secretary of State and U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (Democratic Nominee):
Link (Planetary Society)  >>>

Businessman and real estate tycoon Donald J. Trump (Republican Party Nominee):
Link (Planetary Society) >>>

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party Nominee):
Link ( >>>

Physician Dr. Jill Stein (Green Party Nominee):
Link ( >>>

Former Republican Policy Director & Intelligence Officer Evan McMullin (Independent Candidate):
Link ( >>>

Related Blog Post ---

"U.S. Presidential Candidates Answer Science Questions." 2016 Sept. 18.

Link >>>

Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
             2016 Nov. 6.

                                                               Historic 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science.
        2016: 75th Year of Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium Observatory
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