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This article was published on April 25, 2017


Trump wants a mission to Mars in 7 years — which might be impossible

Trump wants a mission to Mars in 7 years — which might be impossible
Rachel Kaser
Story by

Rachel Kaser

Internet Culture Writer

Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback riding. Check her Twitter for curmudgeonly criticisms.

President Trump today called American astronauts on the International Space Station — and told them he wants humans on Mars by his second term “at worst.”

For the most part, the call was amiable and optimistic, with Trump praising the astronauts — Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer — for their accomplishments.

But there was an odd moment during the discussion of Mars, where the astronauts had to explain President Trump’s own bill to him:

Trump: Tell me … Mars: what do you see a timing for actually sending humans to Mars? Is there a schedule, and when would you see that happening?
Whitson: Well I think — as your bill directed — it’ll be approximately in the 2030s. As I mentioned, we actually are building hardware to test the new heavy launch vehicle, and this vehicle will take us further than we’ve ever been away from this planet. Unfortunately, spaceflight takes a lot of time and money, so getting there will require some international cooperation to get it to be a planetwide approach in order to make it successful, just because it is a very expensive endeavor, but it is so worthwhile doing.
Trump: Well we want to try and do it during my first term or, at worst, during my second term. So we’ll have to speed that up a little bit, okay?

Let’s hope the president was joking; his proposal is ambitious, but unrealistic. The Space Race was a pretty brisk endeavor, but it still took 14 years for it to produce a Moon landing.

Still, he was probably joking. It’s just a little hard to tell these days.