Bill Nye the Science Guy has a message for President Trump: Please support NASA.
A day before the president releases his first budget proposal, Nye, the CEO of the Planetary Society, sent Wednesday an open letter to the president, via a video on YouTube.
Nye said he’d be open to meeting with the president, Vice President Pence or other members of the administration to talk about his recommendations, and he noted that NASA and space exploration have bipartisan support in Congress.
Here are the five recommendations Nye had for the agency, some of which seemed to appeal to Trump as a businessman who pledged to keep jobs in America:
1) Keep the planet Mars as the goal for space exploration.
Nye urged Trump to maintain existing programs and missions already underway that support the goal of reaching the red planet.
“Let’s keep this momentum going and get humans to Mars in our lifetimes,” he said.
Which means we need to …
2) Orbit Mars first.
Experts have already met and proposed plans for how to get humans to orbit Mars by 2033, Nye said. Following these proposals would allow humans to land on the planet two or more years later. It’s similar to how we eventually sent people to the moon.
3) Strengthen NASA’s science.
There are four pillars of science at NASA: astrophysics, planetary science, heliophysics and earth science. Nye recommended strengthening all of them — despite calls by some members of Congress to transfer earth science to other agencies.
“I urge you to embrace the full potential of all of NASA’s science programs so that they can continue to lead the world in science, technology and exploration,” Nye said.
4) Embrace commercial space.
Private space have grown “substantially,” Nye said.
“Let’s unleash private investment in lower orbit and find ways to encourage this next generation of entrepreneurs and inventors to blaze a trail to mars and beyond,” he said.
5) Boost NASA’s budget by 5% every year for five years.
This may be the hardest selling point, but Nye called for what he calls the five-over-five plan. The money would be spent “on Earth, in the United States,” he noted.
“Our citizens expect so much of NASA,” he said. “The organization is often asked to do a lot with not quite enough … Without budget increases, NASA won’t have the ability to send these people anywhere. Not to the moon, not to Mars, not anywhere.”
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