Astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson stated that President Donald Trump’s Space Force is not a “crazy” idea as people like to say.
“Just because it came out of Trump’s mouth doesn’t require that it then be a crazy thing,” Tyson said on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on Wednesday night.
Late-night host Stephen Colbert introduced the topic by noting that “people make fun of” Trump over the Space Force.
Tyson replied that military operations in space are not an outlandish concept.
“Many people are thinking that we didn’t have a Space Force before,” Tyson said. “We have a ‘space force’ – it’s called the United States Space Command and it is under the auspices of the Air Force. We already have a presence in space.”
The United States Space Command, founded in 1985, allows the Air Force to launch satellites and engage in other defensive activities in space.
“All I’m saying is, the United States Space Command is responsible for all the space activities that the military has engaged in forever, ever since the 1960s, basically,” Tyson said. “And so to have a Space Force, you just slide in all these activities under this new umbrella.”
“And then you might add a few things,” Tyson added. “In fact, if I had any say in the matter, I’d say, why don’t you throw in asteroid defense? We need some of that. And how about – why don’t you clean up space while you’re at it, get rid of the space debris? That would be a defensive move.”
Trump in June officially directed the Pentagon to begin the process necessary to establish a Space Force as “the sixth branch of the armed forces.”
The Department of Defense in August released a report detailing the specifics of how it could carry out Trump’s request by 2020, though skeptics in Congress will have to sign off on the plan.
Other countries, including China, have expanded their military operations in space.
Trump often touts the Space Force to supporters as a show of American strength.