Trump Nominee Wants to Study Climate Change… On Mars

After all of the actions Donald Trump’s White House has taken to sweep climate change under the rug, at last, we have a Trump official who is interested in putting time and money toward researching climate change… on Mars.

U.S. Representative Jim Bridenstine is Trump’s nominee to lead NASA. The Republican from Oklahoma is a controversial choice because his most relevant “space” experience was running the Tulsa Air and Space Museum. Worse yet, unlike his predecessors in this role, he lacks a background in either science or engineering.

On a questionnaire supplied by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Bridenstine wrote, “At some point, Mars changed dramatically and we should strive to understand why. Studying other planets can inform our understanding of Earth.”

While it’s refreshing to hear someone endorsed by Trump advocate for scientific research – the head of the EPA even said he doesn’t want scientific research dictating policy - there’s an underlying reason why Bridenstine is interested in potential climate change on other planets. As Scientific American explains, some climate change deniers blame the sun for warming rather than fossil fuels burned by humans.

Scientists acknowledge that Mars’s climate has evolved, but disagree with deniers’ theories. For starters, the temperature on Mars has gotten cooler, which would not support the idea that the sun is getting hotter and causing these changes. Additionally, the change on Mars has happened over the course of thousands of years, whereas Earth’s heating is unnaturally rapid.

During his time in Congress, Bridenstine has already outed himself as a climate change denier. In 2013 he declared that Earth’s temperature had “stopped rising 10 years ago.” He also criticized President Barack Obama for wasting money on funding climate change research.

Now it seems that Bridenstine is in favor of climate change research… so long as it occurs on another planet.

It’ll be interesting to see whether or not Bridenstine is confirmed; even a sizable contingency of Republicans have expressed displeasure in Trump nominating a politician to lead NASA, which most believe should remain a non-partisan agency.

Senator Marco Rubio said, “[NASA]’s the one federal mission which has largely been free of politics and it’s at a critical juncture… I just think it could be devastating for the space program.”

Look, I’m not opposed to studying the climate on Mars. Scientific inquiry is important, and it is extremely likely that the things we learn about the red planet will give us increased perspective about Earth.

I am, however, concerned about how the Trump administration treats scientific research that doesn’t fit their preexisting narrative. Between burying studies that don’t support the president’s agenda, deleting science off government webpages and even directly discouraging government employees from using the phrase “climate change,” if this Mars research were to indicate that the sun is not responsible for changes in climate, would a Bridenstine-led NASA even be willing to release this information?

Photo credit: Thinkstock

62 comments

Paulo R
Paulo Rabout a month ago

idiot

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Paulo R
Paulo Rabout a month ago

idiot

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Paulo R
Paulo Rabout a month ago

idiot

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Paulo R
Paulo Rabout a month ago

idiot

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Paulo R
Paulo Rabout a month ago

idiot

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Paulo R
Paulo Rabout a month ago

idiot

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Paulo R
Paulo Rabout a month ago

idiot

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Paulo R
Paulo Rabout a month ago

idiot

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Nena C
Nena C2 months ago

seriously! hmm, well it is interesting this 'sort of turn around' lets just see how it plays out and not be too judgmental for now...........at lest it's 'semi positive'

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Kathryn I
Kathryn I2 months ago

Another clueless ignoramus under Trump! Not surprising in the least, however. Thanks for posting

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