Space Exploration, Politics: The Struggle Is Real

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Imagine You’re Jim Bridenstine…

…You’ve had a mixed bag the last couple of years. You got this “great new job” running NASA – even though you didn’t even really believe in science at the time – because your party’s nominee, clown-shoes though he is – actually WON the fracking Presidency and he tapped you! It was a little scary because even though politics is your deal, you never thought you’d get into space exploration politics. Then you found out that the agency of which you’ve been put in charge is actually really cool!

Official portrait of NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine

Official portrait of NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine

You talk to a few of the others that have been around the block a while – guys like William Gerstenmaier.  Gerstenmaier is the now-former head of human exploration at NASA. You learn all kinds of neat stuff, and you come out and say that science is awesome! You start to really take your job seriously and work hard on making sure the agency does as much as it can with the paltry budget it gets. 

Things Are Going Smoothly

Then, in March, the Vice President blindsides you.  He cuts your timetable for building a base on the moon by four years. You’re already working on a shoestring budget, but the threat is clear. Do it by the end of what they hope will be a second Trump term, or you and a lot of others are gone. So you get to work.

You know that you’re going to need more money if you’re going to get to the moon four years sooner than planned, so you start lobbying Congress hard. But they’re, well… Congress. It’s not as easy as it sounds. 

Then, to top it all off, the clown-shoes President gets on Twitter and says this nincompoopery:

“For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon – We did that 50 years ago. They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part).” ~ Donald J. Trump: June 7th, 2019

You shit yourself. Then you find the nearest object and throw it across the room. After you watch the damage it does, you take a moment.  Then you call the President. Turns out all he wanted you to do was change the message.

Change the Mission AND the Message?

So you get on it. You and the other top officials at NASA – most or all of whom have been there longer than you – start trying to figure out this type of problem… again.

Remember that guy, Gerstenmaier? Well, turns out you have to get rid of him because (for reasons only known to you, him, and the others in the room) he’s not gonna be able to get it done. So you demote him. You make him special assistant to the blah blah blah. Then you get back to chasing your tail over how to get the money to make this lunatic target happen.

Then It Hits You…

Space exploration, politics? They’re all a part of the same machine. Next year, someone new could get elected, which means you’re most likely going to be replaced, the 2024 timeline will probably go away, and a new set of lunatic demands will be placed on the next guy. 

If I were Jim Bridenstine, I’d just bury my head, say, “Yes, Mr. President,” and do what every other office worker in America supposedly does… This

Thank the stars I’m not Jim Bridenstine.


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Brandon Humphreys

Brandon Humphreys

I'm a wizard. I write stuff and it goes from my head into yours - Magic! Apart from that, I am the Senior Editor for Space Porn, a veteran, a rock guitarist, and a teacher.

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