This blog is anything but political, but my ears perked up when I heard our new president mention the “mysteries of space” and “night sky” during today’s inaugural address. Here are snips of the speech for context:
“We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space …”
“And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky …”
Trump says he loves NASA and calls space “terrific,” but we’ve heard little about his plans for NASA except that he’d like to see more partnerships between the agency and private industry. One of NASA’s larger goals is to send a crew to Mars sometime in the 2030s, but the effort will need the cash, testing and more hardware to make it happen. As of today, Trump has yet to appoint a new NASA administrator, so everything’s up in the air regarding the agency’s future space agenda. If you’d like to hear what the experts speculate about NASA’s future under the Trump administration, check out this space.com story. My guess is that money for climate change research may die on the vine, but I hope I’m wrong. And if space is indeed terrific, let’s gun the engine and get out there.
Trump’s mention of the night sky warmed my heart, since we do indeed look up at the same night sky, though the stars we see at any particular hour vary by time zone and latitude. Living in downtown New York and now Washington D.C., it’s hard for me to imagine that President Trump has had the opportunity to marvel at a dark night sky in a long, long time, but I could be wrong. Certainly he may have had that opportunity on a island vacation.
The night sky is the great equalizer. If we allow ourselves to stop and reflect under the stars, we come to realize how similar are our needs, emotions and hopes for both the present and future. We are but a tiny gathering standing mouths agape under something so much bigger than ourselves. Let’s look after one another as best we can.
(If the new president or anyone else for that matter wants to know more about that great dark and sparkling entity looming above us, pick up a copy of my new book “Night Sky with the Naked Eye” at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. It covers all the great things you can see at night with just your eyeballs, no equipment needed, no matter what your politics.)