Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Bob Walker, senior campaign adviser to President-elect Donald Trump, has re-affirmed Trump’s commitment to NASA focussing on space exploration, by stating that NASA’s Earth Science Division would be stripped of funding as part of a Trump crackdown on “Politicized Science”.
Trump to scrap Nasa climate research in crackdown on ‘politicized science’
Nasa’s Earth science division is set to be stripped of funding as the president-elect seeks to shift focus away from home in favor of deep space exploration.
Bob Walker, a senior Trump campaign adviser, said there was no need for Nasa to do what he has previously described as “politically correct environmental monitoring”.
“We see Nasa in an exploration role, in deep space research,” Walker told the Guardian. “Earth-centric science is better placed at other agencies where it is their prime mission.
“My guess is that it would be difficult to stop all ongoing Nasa programs but future programs should definitely be placed with other agencies. I believe that climate research is necessary but it has been heavily politicized, which has undermined a lot of the work that researchers have been doing. Mr Trump’s decisions will be based upon solid science, not politicized science.”
Climate scientists at other organizations expressed dismay at the potential gutting of Earth-based research.
Kevin Trenberth, senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said as Nasa provides the scientific community with new instruments and techniques, the elimination of Earth sciences would be “a major setback if not devastating”.
“It could put us back into the ‘dark ages’ of almost the pre-satellite era,” he said. “It would be extremely short sighted.
“We live on planet Earth and there is much to discover, and it is essential to track and monitor many things from space. Information on planet Earth and its atmosphere and oceans is essential for our way of life. Space research is a luxury, Earth observations are essential.”
I remember growing up, reading science fiction authors like Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Michael Flynn, about the great battles for funding, about how Senator William Proxmire (D-Wisconsin) did everything in his power to kill American space research.
His reason for doing so? Like Climate Scientist Kevin Trenberth, Senator Proxmire believed Space exploration was an unnecessary luxury, a waste of taxpayer’s funds. Proxmire wanted to strip the NASA budget to fund welfare programmes.
I never imagined back then that the true enemy of NASA’s original deep space mission would strike from within, slowly eating away an ever increasing share of NASA’s internal space budget like a raging parasitic infection, leaving the original shell intact, but quietly transforming NASA from a space exploration agency into a glorified weather programme.
Perhaps Trump will make NASA great again.