Recent reports indicate that president Donald Trump has offered NASA “all the money you could ever need” to land on the planet Mars. The report was carried by the New York Magazine and it cites an upcoming memoir by a former White House communication official Cliff Sims as the source. The memoir added that there was an increasing fascination from the president to send humans to Mars. It’s said that Trump offered to do whatever he could in his capacity as president to aid astronauts in their goal.
During a dining room private meeting between him and NASA officials, the president sought to know how feasible it is at the moment to land on Mars. It’s understood that the astronauts at the meeting remained optimistic about the possibility of achieving this but the timeline was far down the line than expected. The astronauts said that even though there was significant progress towards this goal, 2030 remained the earliest estimate to get this done. The president, however, wasn’t really upbeat about this. In fact, during the meeting he inquired whether it was possible for NASA to actually do this before the end of his first term.
According to the memoirs by Sims, the moment that question went out, there was an uneasy atmosphere in the air. As for NASA’s timetable, there was still a decade to go before there was any real chance to have humans land on Mars but here was the president asking the space agency to shave off an entire decade from its plan.
But it didn’t end there. Even after the astronauts tried to explain that it would take time to get the job done, the president asked if the timelines could be a little bit quicker if there was more money coming NASA’s way. Sims says in the memoirs that the President asked: “What if I give all the money you could ever need to do it?” “What if we sent NASA’s budget off the roof, the president continued to ask.”
The answer that came after that was not convincing enough for the president either. As the astronauts tried to explain the massive logistics that would be involved in getting humans in Mars, Trump just looked on “visibly disappointed.” These events happened as the president was getting ready for a televised phone call into the Space Station. This was actually a very important event and Sims says that the president was totally distracted after the conversation with NASA.
Sims’s memoir continued to note that Trump wouldn’t let go of the issue even after it had been explained how difficult it would be to move the schedule faster. The president suggested jokingly that if there’s anything he could do to speed this up so that the landing could be done before the end of his first term then he was ready. Trump has already signed a $19.5 billion budget for the space agency. However, the spending bill puts more emphasis on NASA to prioritize the exploration of Mars before any other projects.