Either Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin had a bad meal or he was as confused as we were about President Donald Trumps comments on space and security Friday in the Oval Office.
The astronaut was at Trumps side as the president announced a new executive order reestablishing the National Space Council 24 years after it was last active to direct space policy in his administration.
Trumps remarks began with the presidents usual boasting: Were going to lead again like we never led before. But he then appeared to claim all of space for the U.S., calling it the next great American frontier.
Trump also referred to space providing the security that we need to protect the American people. And he sent Aldrins eyebrows shooting up when he added, inexplicably, At some point in the future, were going to look back and say, How did we do it without space?
We know what this is, space. Thats all it has to say: space, Trump said as he prepared to sign his executive order. He then turned to Aldrin and asked, Theres a lot of room out there, right?
To infinity, and beyond, Aldrin quipped as others laughed. But Trump apparently didnt get the reference to Buzz Lightyears catchphrase in Toy Story.
This is infinity here. It could be infinity, Trump answered in a rambling response. We dont really dont know. But it could be. It has to be something but it could be infinity, right?
Besides Aldrin, three other astronauts also joined the president in the Oval Office for the ceremony. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, however, only introduced the men Aldrin, former astronaut David Wolf and current astronaut Benjamin Alvin Drew and failedto mention the lone female astronaut on the scene, Sandy Magnus, The Washington Post reported. Magnus is currently the executive director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Pence will head the new space council, despite trying in vain in 2005 to shut down NASAs space exploration plans. The council will also include members of Trumps Cabinet and representatives from NASA. Its still awaiting a new head of NASA, whom Trump hasnt yet named.
The executive order also creates a users advisory group to ensure that the interests of industries and other non-Federal entities involved in space activities, including in particular commercial entities, are adequately represented in the council.
Aldrin hailed the move to reestablish the space council on his Twitter account, linking to the vice presidents comments, not Trumps.
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