Free speech has reached the final frontier: A group of citizen space explorers has executed what they say is the first protest in space.
The Autonomous Space Agency Network (ASAN) this week sent a tweet into space directed at President Donald Trump, whose administration has begun dismantling some of America’s scientific endeavors in favor of deregulation and other policy efforts that favor politics and ideology over data.
Using a weather balloon that floated to some 90,000 feet above Earth’s surface (just shy of what is technically considered “space”), ASAN sent a pointed message to Trump: “LOOK AT THAT, YOU SON OF A BITCH.”
The message was derived from a quote by late Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who once opined about the silliness of human political behavior after seeing the Earth from the Moon.
“From out there on the Moon, international politics look so petty,” Mitchell said. “You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.’”
ASAN’s protest was carried out in “solidarity” with the upcoming anti-Trump March for Science on April 22. More than 500 cities are taking part in the protest, with the main event scheduled to begin at 8am ET in Washington, D.C. A series of speeches will proceed the actual march, which will begin at 2pm ET.
Trump’s plans with NASA are a mixed bag for the scientific community. In March, the president signed the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017—which authorizes a $19.5 billion budget for the space agency in 2017, with a focus on “human space exploration, space science, and technology,” as Trump put it in a tweet. However, NASA’s leadership under Trump plans to scrap funding for the International Space Station to pay for a human trip to Mars, and Republican lawmakers are pushing for the agency to severely cut its focus on earth sciences, which includes climate change research.
H/T Huffington Post