President Trump Saved America’s Space Program—Biden Could Cede Space to China

November 2, 2020 Updated: November 2, 2020

Commentary

In four years, American astronauts will return to the Moon, usher in a vibrant era of commerce on the Moon, and set Americans and our international and commercial partners on course to Mars.

Or, in four years, our space program will be all-but-cancelled in the name of climate change and other priorities, and China will be proclaiming their dominance over access to space.

That choice will be one of the many consequences of this election.

Four years ago, President Donald Trump inherited a space program in grave danger. The Obama–Biden administration had cancelled our return to the Moon in 2010 and thereby any factual pathway to Mars. Billions and many years were wasted on designed-to-fail “asteroid missions” and other fake programs to disguise the reality that NASA was tasked with not going anywhere beyond the International Space Station.

Morale at the Obama–Biden NASA was at a terrible low. The word “moon” was effectively banned, and I witnessed a contractor setting up for a press conference at NASA headquarters being ordered to take down a backdrop showing a moon base or “this press conference is over.” Several high-ranking officials privately told me they knew the damage to our future by Obama’s orders, but were secretly keeping some lunar research and development alive.

Theories abounded. Were Obama and Biden opposed to this aspect of American exceptionalism? Was the president bullied by China to cede the Moon to them? Was it because the Moon had become a legacy of President George W. Bush? Retired NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao served on the 2009 Augustine Commission, which was designed to offer “proof” against returning to the Moon. Chiao was instructed that “there was no way this administration was going to go there [the Moon], because it was W’s program.” History could repeat.

President Barack Obama also split the space community by declaring “we’ve been there [done that]” regarding returning to the Moon. While that was a lie—we landed on the moon only six times and spent a grand total of just 12 days on the surface and know little about human physiology in low-gravity—his lie killed the unity behind returning to the Moon where we would learn how to live on another world, and then, with lessons learned, venture safely to Mars.

A Google search of Joe Biden’s website revealed only one mention of “NASA“ and just five mentions of the “Moon,” all exclusively in the context of our past accomplishments and climate change activism. Oh—zero mentions of “Mars.” There’s nothing about continuing the return to the Moon or anything that offers reassurance that the radicals in his administration wouldn’t abolish NASA entirely. If past is prologue, read my 2016 paper for the Capital Research Center on how the Obama–Biden administration had been turning NASA from a space exploration agency to a radical climate change-advocacy agency.

Bizarrely, a President Biden would inherit a return to the Moon at the end of his term, so all he would need to do is continue what’s already in progress and claim the credit. But it appears this tremendous gift has already been spurned, likely for ideological reasons.

By contrast, President Trump’s accomplishments at NASA, including his order to return Americans to the Moon by 2024 and going to Mars in partnership with commercial space, speak for themselves. And his campaign website rightly boasts about his record with reinvigorating NASA and plans for exploring the Moon and Mars.

U.S. commercial and free-world access to space and the Moon are indeed under threat from China, especially should we abandon our return.

In 2017, the head of China’s military-led lunar exploration program, Ye Peijian, used “fighting words” to claim ownership: “The universe is an ocean, the Moon is the Diaoyu Islands, Mars is Huangyan Island.” These are the names the Chinese Communist Party uses for islands in the East and South China Seas that they’re conquering in violation of 400 years of freedom of the seas and international law.

Recent documents raise suspicions that Vice President Biden could have received part of the millions that his son Hunter Biden earned for alleged influence peddling to high Communist Party officials in China. This conflict calls to question if a President Biden would allow China to claim the ice-rich south polar craters with only mere rhetorical opposition.

The stakes are high in this election for a great many reasons. Free-world and commercial access to space, the Moon, and Mars could be endangered in a Biden administration. If President Trump has the opportunity to continue his accomplishments in space, America will continue to lead the world in space exploration and high technology, and help protect access to space.

President Trump will keep alive the words on the plaque left on the Moon by Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin: “We came in peace for all mankind.”

Art Harman is the president of the Coalition to Save Manned Space Exploration. He was the legislative director and foreign policy adviser for Rep. Stockman (R-Texas) in the 113th Congress, and is a veteran policy analyst and grassroots political expert.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.