A new Twitter account known as “Rogue NASA” has been attacking President Trump for allegedly censoring federal employees.
The account, created Tuesday, is in the same vein as two other alternative accounts that purport to represent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Park Service (NPS.) None of these accounts seem to be directly affiliated with any of the federal bureaucracies. Several tweets from the accounts claim to be from government employees.
As of Thursday, “@rougeNASA” has roughly 364,000 followers with the associated EPA and NPS alternative Twitter accounts having 100,000 and 1,030,000 followers respectively. The accounts characterize themselves as “The Unofficial Resistance team” of various executive agencies which they perceive to be threatened by Trump.
President Donald Trump likely has big shake ups in store for NASA, after directly vowing to “unlock the mysteries of space” during his inaugural address. Trump seems to be interested in sending human astronauts to Mars, based on a private meeting he had with billionaire Elon Musk last week.
Musk, the founder of the private space company SpaceX, made two trips to Trump Tower during the transition period and discussed how NASA could be primed to send astronauts to Mars using public-private partnerships, according to The Washington Post. Trump also met last week with space program historian Douglas Brinkley about the Apollo program, which took NASA to the moon during the 1960s.
Industry analysts suspect that Trump will likely increase NASA’s overall budget while slashing many of the agency’s global warming programs supported by President Barack Obama. Additional money for Mars exploration could potentially be diverted from NASA’s troubled Asteroid Redirect Mission, which was also heavily supported by Obama.
“A number of prominent Republicans on Capitol Hill think that NASA should not be involved to the degree that it is in Earth science,” Jeff Foust, a senior writer at the trade publication SpaceNews, told Space.com. “I would certainly expect to see some sort of development in terms of potential reduction to NASA’s Earth science program.”
Experts have long suspected that Trump’s space program will likely be focused on exploration with robotic probes and later, sending humans to Mars, using money diverted from NASA’s global warming science programs — stripped from exploration programs under the previous administration. Another billionaire space entrepreneur, Robert Bigelow, thinks that Trump could potentially double NASA’s budget.
America is better prepared to visit Mars than it was to visit the Moon in the 1960s, according to a study by NASA’s Johnson Space Center. The total cost of current plans to send Americans to Mars comes out to roughly $35 billion spent by 2025 to arrive in 2030.
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