Space Dust

Vice President Mike Pence held a steak dinner for the meat industry yesterday. Actually, it was a meeting of an archaic government committee (yawn, already) called the National Space Council, which was created during the era of Dwight Eisenhower, who soon wished to disband it. It’s had its ups and downs ever since, but you have to voyage back nearly 25 years to find its last incarnation, when renowned space expert Dan Quayle chaired it and forced out astronaut Richard Truly as head of NASA. After that fracas, it disappeared again until renowned space expert Donald Trump–who has yet to appoint either a NASA chief or a White House science advisor–revived it with Pence plus a few generals and executive agency suits onboard. They have apparently decided that traveling to the moon is still a great idea.  The chief executives of Lockheed Martin and Boeing put in a word for steady federal funding, which is how they have buttered their big fat slices of bread since John Glenn was a pup. Pence used the 60th anniversary of Sputnik to try to add a dash of good old Cold War anxiety to the space exploration imperative, which certainly worked like a charm 60 years ago. Will anything come of this? Unless the six U.S. Mints are ordered to print dollars specifically dedicated to manned spaceflight, any reasonable observer would confidently say nope.

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