Astronomer puts odds on extraterrestrial life existing: ‘Universe teeming with life … the favored bet’

Despite no clear-cut evidence, mankind has wondered for eons whether we’re alone in the universe. One astronomer, however, is almost sure that extraterrestrial life exists. In a new study, Columbia University astronomer David Kipping used the Bayesian model to determine the odds that life should exist on Earth. He found the odds are 9:1 or higher, despite scientists still not clearly understanding “how life occurred” on the planet, even if it’s widely accepted life started billions of years ago. “The rapid emergence of life and the late evolution of humanity, in the context of the timeline of evolution, are certainly suggestive,” Kipping said in a statement. “But in this study it’s possible to actually quantify what the facts tell us.” The Earth itself is widely believed to be approximately 4.5 billion years old. The Bayesian statistical inference, which is used to “update the probability for a hypothesis as evidence or new information becomes available,” found that intelligent life on Earth likely formed against the odds. The model looked at four possible answers: life is common and often develops intelligence; life is rare but often develops intelligence; life is common and rarely develops intelligence; lastly, life is rare and rarely develops intelligence. Kipping noted the “common-life scenario is always at least nine times more likely than the rare one,” but the odds of life being intelligent are weak. “[T]he possibility that intelligence is extremely rare and Earth ‘lucked out’ remains quite viable,” Kipping wrote in the study. “Overall, we find a weak preference, 3:2 betting odds, that intelligence rarely emerges given our late arrival.” “If we played Earth’s history again, the emergence of intelligence is actually somewhat unlikely,” he added in the statement. However, Kipling pointed out that the analysis “purely concerns the Earth,” and should not be applied to “potentially exoplanets being discovered.” “The analysis can only provide statistical probabilities, but the case for a universe teeming with life emerges as the favored bet,” Kipping explained in the statement. “The search for intelligent life in worlds beyond Earth should be by no means discouraged.” The research has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. As of April 2020, more than 4,000 exoplanets have been identified, including a “one in a million” super-Earth that was recently discovered. In early March, an astronomy student from the University of British Columbia discovered 17 new exoplanets, including one that is roughly the same size as Earth. Known as KIC-7340288 b, the exoplanet is “small enough to be considered rocky,” at just 1.5 times the size of Earth, and is in the habitable zone of the star it orbits. Another recently discovered exoplanet, K2-18b, is also “potentially habitable” and is just 124 light-years from Earth.

Mr. Kipping is saying what we’ve been saying here for many years; that the likelihood of life out there, on another planet, is FAR greater than not…given just how vast space is.     🙂

Space Force releases recruitment video: ‘Maybe your purpose on this planet isn’t on this planet’

The Space Force released a recruitment video on Wednesday. The branch posted the video to Twitter, telling potential cadets: “Maybe your purpose on this planet isn’t on this planet.” The video is aimed to inspire men and women to join and protect the United States and its interest “in space and to provide space capabilities.” The Space Force became the sixth branch of the U.S. military in December 2019 and welcomed its first class of cadets from the U.S. Air Force Academy graduation in late April. President Trump authorized the act to create the Space Force at the end of last year. The last time a branch of the armed forces was added was in 1947 when the Air Force split from the Army. The Space Force operates under the Department of the Air Force, much like how the Marine Corps operates under the Department of the Navy. The newest 86 officers to join will be sent for space training at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, while others will fill positions relating to cyberspace operations and intelligence. The newest recruitment video posted Wednesday ends with a recruit looking to the stars as the narrator says: “Maybe your purpose on this planet isn’t on this planet.” Twitter has been quick to compare the Space Force to “Star Wars” and “The Last Star Fighter.” President Trump is expected to pick a location for where the new Space Force headquarters will be by the end of the year. Click here to see the new Space Force recruitment video.

Cheesy…yet cool!   As many of you know, I spent a couple years in the Army’s Space Command (“SMDC”) in Colorado Springs, CO.  And yes, I have my “Spings” (i.e. Army Space Badge) for those of you who are curious. …which is why we’ve been very adamant from day one here at The Daily Buzz about the need for our federal government to invest more in both our civilian (i.e. NASA) and military (i.e. Space Force, SMDC, etc.) space programs.  Whatever those budgets are, they need to be doubled, if not tripled.  We’re still ahead of our competitors…but that edge is quickly fading.  For every launch of ours, China has about 100 launches.  They’re catching up, and fast.  And, that is NOT a good thing.  And that’s just China.  Remember we have Russia to contend with, and now both N. Korea and Iran (yes, Iran) have launched military satellites into space.  They all know the next BIG war we fight will be in space, as it is the ultimate “high ground.”  And the country that has dominance there, will have the advantage.  Some time ago we posted an article written by a retired Air Force 3-star general called “The Urgent Need for a Space Force.”   To find it, type “Space Force” in the search field on the right…and read it.  We agree with the good general’s assessment 100%.   Go Space Force!       🙂

Pompeo warns Iran’s space program is ‘dangerous’

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted Iran’s satellite launch this week as “dangerous” and “provocative” and urged the international community to intervene. “For years, Iran has claimed its space program is purely peaceful and civilian,” Pompeo said in a statement Saturday. “The Trump Administration has never believed this fiction. This week’s launch of a military satellite by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, makes clear what we have said all along: Iran’s space program is neither peaceful nor entirely civilian.” Iran’s Revolutionary Guard launched its first satellite into space Wednesday, dramatically revealing what experts described as a secret military space program that could advance its ballistic missile development amid wider tensions between the Islamic Republic and the U.S. Using a mobile launcher at a new launch site, the Guard said it put the “Noor,” or “Light,” satellite into a low orbit circling the Earth. Iranian state TV late Wednesday showed footage of what it said was the satellite and said it had orbited the earth within 90 minutes. It said the satellite’s signals were being received. Pompeo said the launch proved that Iran was spreading falsehoods when it repeatedly claimed that its space program was peaceful. “The most recent military launch, which was developed and conducted in secret, proves that these statements were lies,” Pompeo said. The launch comes as Iran has abandoned all the limitations of its tattered nuclear deal with world powers that President Trump unilaterally withdrew America from in 2018. Trump’s decision set off a monthslong series of escalating attacks that culminated in a U.S. drone strike in January that killed a top Iranian general in Iraq, followed by Tehran launching ballistic missiles at American soldiers in Iraq. As the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic and historically low oil prices, the missile launch may signal a new willingness to take risks by Iran. Trump himself later tweeted he told the U.S. Navy “ to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea,” both raising energy prices and renewing the risk of conflict. Pompeo said the space launch signals Iran’s nuclear weapon aspirations. “This satellite launch vehicle and others launched before it incorporate technologies identical to, and interchangeable with, ballistic missiles, including longer-range systems such as intercontinental ballistic missiles [ICBMs],” Pompeo said in calling on the international community to reject Iran’s development of ballistic-missile capable technologies. “No country has ever pursued an ICBM capability except for the purpose of delivering nuclear weapons,” he said. The Revolutionary Guard caught world powers by surprise this week by launching the military satellite as part of a secret space program as Trump threatened to sink any Iranian vessel harassing U.S. forces. Iran has suffered one of the world’s worst outbreaks of COVID-19. Experts both inside and outside of Iran believe Tehran also is underreporting the scale of the coronavirus crisis. “Iran, of course, has seized the opportunity presented by COVID-19, which is what’s preoccupying Americans at the moment,” said Ariane Tabatabai, a Middle East fellow who studies Iran at the Washington-based German Marshall Fund. “In part, it’s trying to distract from its own botched response to the pandemic and partly, it sees the United States at its weakest in a while and so it’s using this to raise the cost of the maximum pressure campaign to force the U.S. to end it.” Pompeo called for support in extending the United Nations conventional arms embargo on Iran, which is set to expire this October. He also urged the European Union to sanction individuals and entities working on Iran’s missile programs. “When the Iranian people are suffering and dying from the coronavirus pandemic, it is regrettable to see the regime waste its resources and efforts on provocative military pursuits that do nothing to help the Iranian people,” Pompeo said.

This is a very disturbing development.  Sec. Mike Pompeo (R) is a very smart diplomat with an extensive resume including having graduated #1 in his class from West Point, a stint on active duty in the Army as an officer, a law degree from Harvard, six terms in Congress, and was the former Director of the CIA.  And, that’s just for starters.  His assessment of Iran’s space intentions are spot on.  With that in mind, we need to take clear and decisive action to make it clear to the wacky mullahs in Tehran that we are NOT weakened by ANY means…and let them know we will not tolerate their pursuit of nuclear weapons…ever.

Separately, and just as important..  This is yet another example of why it is absolutely critical we invest now in both our civilian space (i.e. NASA), and military space programs.  Indeed, President Trump’s vision for a true “Space Force” is needed now more than ever.  We posted an article about just that written by a retired Air Force 3-star general.  To read that, type “Space Force” into the Search field to the right and it’ll bring that article up.

NASA sets date for astronauts to launch into space from US soil for the first time since 2011

Next month, U.S. astronauts will launch into space from American soil for the first time since 2011, NASA has announced. The launch, which will carry astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, is scheduled for May 27, according to the space agency. The astronauts will be transported to the International Space Station onboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the capsule into space. “On May 27, @NASA will once again launch American astronauts on American rockets from American soil!,” tweeted NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine on Friday. “With our @SpaceX partners, @Astro_Doug and @AstroBehnken will launch to the @Space_Station on the #CrewDragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket.” The launch will take place from Kennedy Space Center’s historic pad 39A, which was also used for the Apollo and Space Shuttle programs. STS-135, the last space shuttle mission, launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on July 8, 2011. The space shuttle Atlantis carried four NASA astronauts on the mission to resupply the ISS, as well as an experiment for robotically refueling satellites in space. Since then, the U.S. has relied on Russian Soyuz rockets launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to get astronauts into space. Russia charges the U.S. about $75 million to send an astronaut into space. NASA’s announcement comes despite the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the globe. Earlier this year, Vice President Mike Pence vowed that NASA astronauts will soon launch into space from U.S. soil for the first time in almost 10 years. Pence, who is chairman of the National Space Council, gave the speech at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia on Feb. 19. “Before we even get to the summer, with the strong support of all of you, the United States will return American astronauts to space on American rockets from American soil,” he explained. “We’re going back, and we going back from the USA.” Pence also discussed the plan to put Americans on the moon again. NASA’s Artemis program aims to land American astronauts on the moon by 2024 and establish a sustainable human presence on Earth’s natural satellite. After Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969, only 10 more men, all Americans, have walked on the lunar surface. The last NASA astronaut to set foot on the moon was Apollo 17 Mission Commander Gene Cernan, on Dec. 14, 1972. NASA’s Commercial Crew program is harnessing private space companies such as SpaceX and United Launch Alliance to support America’s future space exploration.

Go SpaceX!!!       🙂

Trump signs ‘space order’ paving way for US to mine Moon and Mars for minerals and water

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday that brushes aside historic treaties that view space as a “global commons” to be governed by international bodies. Instead, the vast stores of water and minerals on the Moon, Mars and asteroids are ripe for the taking by NASA and other international space agencies, according to the directive. The move paves the way for a new space race in which agencies stake claims to parts of space objects brimming with mineable resources, such as oxygen and metals. NASA currently plans to land man on the Moon again in 2024 and has explicitly stated it intends to mine the rocky satellite for resources to supply a permanent Moon base. “Americans should have the right to engage in commercial exploration, recovery, and use of resources in outer space,” the order states. It remarks that the US had never signed a 1979 agreement known as the moon treaty. This treaty states that anyone mining off-Earth resources must comply with laws governed by the United Nations. It has never been ratified by the United States, Russia or any of the other main space-faring nations. “The order reaffirms US support for the 1967 Outer Space Treaty while continuing to reject the 1979 Moon Agreement,” said Dr Scott Pace, deputy assistant to the president and executive secretary of the National Space Council. “The order further clarifies that the United States does not view outer space as a ‘global commons,’ and it reinforces the 2015 decision by Congress that Americans should have the right to engage in the commercial exploration, recovery, and use of resources in outer space.” The order blasts the Moon Treaty for its ineffectiveness at promoting “commercial participation” in exploration, scientific discovery and “use of the Moon, Mars, or other celestial bodies.” As part of its ambitious Artemis mission programme to the Moon, NASA plans to mine the Moon’s south pole. Robotic landers will first touch down on the lunar surface ahead of a 2024 manned mission. NASA has promised that the first woman to walk on the Moon will be on board the trip. Later in the 2020s, the space agency will set up an orbiting lunar base from which missions to Mars and beyond can be launched. Called Gateway, the permanent space station will house astronauts, laboratory experiments and more. Humans will have to mine ice from the rock below to top up resources like drinking water and hydrogen for rocket fuel.. NASA has just four years to reach the Moon, and is doing all it can to drub up funding and support. In other space news, alien life may be lurking within a mysterious cave under the surface of Mars, scientists claim. Scientists think they’ve found the first known ‘alien protein’ inside a meteorite. And, Elon Musk recently revealed a Starship rocket with a scantily clad “battle angel” on its side.

Super pink moon: NASA’s top tips for April skywatchers

Skywatchers are in for a treat in April when the super pink moon, the biggest supermoon of 2020, lights up the night sky. The April full moon is the closest supermoon of the year, which means that it is the largest, according to EarthSky. “That’s because this full moon more closely coincides with lunar perigee – the moon’s closest point to Earth in its monthly obit – than any other full moon in the year 2020,” the website explains. Supermoons happen when the moon’s elliptical orbit brings it to the closest point to the Earth while the moon is full. The phrase was coined in 1979, according to NASA. The space agency explains that the moon will be at perigee, at 2:08 pm EDT on April 7. The moon will be full at 10:35 pm EDT that day. “For the best view of this lovely spring Moon, find an open area and watch as the Moon rises just above the horizon, at which point it will appear its biggest and take on a golden hue!,” explains the Old Farmer’s Almanac, on its website. The April full moon is known as the pink moon, on account of the herb moss pink, also known as wild ground phlox, according to NASA. In the eastern U.S., the herb moss pink is one of the earliest widespread flowers of Spring, the space agency explains, on its website. “Other names for this Moon include the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and among coastal tribes the Fish Moon, as this was the time that the shad swam upstream to spawn,” it says. Skygazers recently enjoyed the stunning March full moon, or worm moon, which was also a supermoon. Some experts described the spectacular February full moon, or snow moon, as a supermoon, although others feel that it does not qualify as that category of celestial event. The snow moon was one of the largest full moons of 2020.


Organic molecules found on Mars ‘consistent with… life,’ study says

In 2018, NASA announced that its Curiosity rover had discovered organic molecules on Mars. A new study suggests that those molecules are “consistent with early life” on the Red Planet. The research, published in Astrobiology, notes that organisms known as thiophenes, which are found in white truffles, coal and crude oil on Earth, have also been discovered on the Red Planet. “We identified several biological pathways for thiophenes that seem more likely than chemical ones, but we still need proof,” the study’s co-author, Dirk Schulze‑Makuch, said in a statement. “If you find thiophenes on Earth, then you would think they are biological, but on Mars, of course, the bar to prove that has to be quite a bit higher.” The research suggests that a biological process “most likely involving bacteria rather than a truffle though, may have played a role in the organic compound’s existence.” However, it’s also possible that it could come from non-biological sources, such as meteor impacts. If indeed the thiophenes were formed from a biological process, it may have stemmed from bacteria that “could have facilitated a sulfate reduction process,” as Mars was warm and wet 3 billion years ago. More will be learned about the organic molecules from the European Space Agency’s Rosalind Franklin rover, slated to launch in July 2020. The researchers said that even if the next rover gets isotopic evidence of carbon and sulfur isotopes, which Schulze‑Makuch calls “a telltale signal for life,” it may not be a guarantee there was or is life on Mars. “As Carl Sagan said ‘extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence,’” Schulze‑Makuch explained. “I think the proof will really require that we actually send people there, and an astronaut looks through a microscope and sees a moving microbe.” NASA is slated to launch a new rover to Mars, known as Perseverance, on July 17, 2020. This rover will attempt to detect if there is any fossilized evidence of extraterrestrial beings, in addition to other tasks. Upon its expected arrival on the Martian surface on Feb. 18, 2021, it will join the still functioning Curiosity rover and the now-deceased Opportunity rover on the Red Planet. Unlike Curiosity or Opportunity, this rover will carry the “first helicopter that will fly on another planet,” NASA added. NASA’s long-term goal is to send a manned mission to Mars in the 2030s.

Fascinating!!  For more, click on the text above.     🙂

Full worm supermoon on deck: What you need to know

Skywatchers are in for a treat next week when the full worm supermoon rises in the sky. “March’s full Moon, called the full Worm Moon, reaches peak fullness at 1:48 p.m. EDT on Monday, March 9,” explains the Old Farmer’s Almanac. “Look for the spectacularly bright Moon as it rises above the horizon that evening!” The celestial event will be the first of three supermoons in 2020, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. EarthSky notes that the full worm moon will be the second-closest of the year’s supermoons. Supermoons happen when the moon’s elliptical orbit brings it to the closest point to Earth while the moon is full. The phrase was coined in 1979, according to NASA. “The Moon will appear full for about 3 days centered on this time, from early Sunday morning into early Wednesday morning,” adds NASA, on its website. The March full moon, which is also known as the crow moon, crust moon, sap moon and sugar moon, played an important role in Native American culture. “The more northern tribes of the northeastern United States knew this as the Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter,” explains NASA, on its website. “Other northern names were the Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing by night, or the Sap (or Sugar) Moon as this is the time for tapping maple trees.” Southern tribes, however, dubbed the celestial event the “worm moon,” as a result of the casts left by earthworms on the thawing ground. Some experts described the spectacular February full moon, or snow moon, as a supermoon, although others feel that it does not qualify as that category of celestial event. The snow moon was one of the largest full moons of 2020.

Very cool!!  Catch it Monday, if ya can!     🙂

SpaceX launches station supplies, nails 50th rocket landing

SpaceX successfully launched another load of station supplies for NASA late Friday night and nailed its 50th rocket landing. The Falcon rocket blasted off with 4,300 pounds of equipment and experiments for the International Space Station. Just minutes later, the spent first-stage booster made a dramatic midnight landing back at Cape Canaveral, its return accompanied by sonic booms. “And the Falcon has landed for the 50th time in SpaceX history!” SpaceX engineer Jessica Anderson announced amid cheers at Mission Control. “What an amazing live view all the way to touchdown.” The Dragon capsule, meanwhile, hurtled toward a Monday rendezvous with the space station. It’s the 20th station delivery for SpaceX, which has launched nearly 100,000 pounds of goods to the orbiting outpost and returned nearly that much back to Earth since it began shipments in 2012. Northrop Grumman is NASA’s other commercial shipper. SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk said it was the windiest conditions ever — 25 mph to 30 mph — for a booster landing at Cape Canaveral, but he wanted to push the envelope. The landing was the 50th successful touchdown of a SpaceX booster following liftoff, either on land or at sea. “Rocket will land in highest winds ever at Cape Canaveral tonight. This is intentional envelope expansion,” Musk tweeted following touchdown. The company’s first booster landing was in 2015, intended as a cost-saving, rocket-recycling move. Both the latest booster and Dragon capsule were recycled from previous flights. Among the science experiments flying: an analysis of running shoe cushioning in weightlessness by Adidas, a water droplet study by Delta Faucet Co. striving for better showerhead water conservation, 3D models of heart and intestinal tissue, and 320 snippets of grape vines by Space Cargo Unlimited, the same Luxembourg startup that sent 12 bottles of red wine to the space station last November for a year of high-altitude aging. The Dragon also contained treats for the two Americans and one Russian at the space station: grapefruit, oranges, apples, tomatoes, Skittles, Hot Tamales and Reese’s Pieces. As for packing the capsule for launch, no extra precautions were taken because of the global coronavirus outbreak, according to NASA. The usual stringent precautions were taken to avoid passing along any germs or diseases to the space station crew. The doctor-approved procedures have proven effective in the past, officials noted. This is the last of SpaceX’s original Dragon cargo capsules. Going forward, the company will launch supplies in second-generation Dragons, roomier and more elaborate versions built for crews. The company aims to launch NASA astronauts this spring. The California-based SpaceX also teaming up with other companies to fly tourists and private researchers to the space station, as well as high solo orbits in the next couple years.

Go SpaceX!!!     🙂

Analysis: The Urgent Need for a United States Space Force

In June 2018, President Trump directed the Department of Defense to “begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces.” The reason for a space force is simple: space is the strategic high ground from which all future wars will be fought. If we do not master space, our nation will become indefensible. Since that time, entrenched bureaucrats and military leaders across the Department of Defense, especially in the Air Force, have been resisting the President’s directive in every way they can. And this December, although Congress voted to approve a Space Force, it did so while placing restrictions on it—such as that the Space Force be built with existing forces—that will render it largely useless in any future conflicts. At the heart of the problem is a disagreement about the mission of a Space Force. The Department of Defense envisions a Space Force that continues to perform the task that current space assets perform—supporting wars on the surface of the Earth. The Air Force especially is mired in an outmoded industrial-age mindset. It sees the Space Force as projecting power through air, space, and cyberspace, understood in a way that precludes space beyond our geocentric orbit. Correspondingly, the Defense Department and Congress think that the Air Force should build the Space Force. So far, this has amounted to the Air Force planning to improve the current Satellite Command incrementally and call it a Space Force. It is not planning to accelerate the new space economy with dual-use technologies. It is not planning to protect the Moon or travel corridors in space to and from resource locations—raw materials worth trillions of dollars are available within a few days’ travel from Earth—and other strategic high grounds. It is not planning to place human beings in space to build and protect innovative solutions to the challenges posed by the physical environment. It is not developing means to rescue Americans who may get stranded or lost in space. In short, the Air Force does not plan to build a Space Force of the kind America needs. In its lack of farsightedness, the Air Force fails to envision landmasses or cities in space to be monitored and defended. Nor does it envision Americans in space whose rights need defending—despite the fact that in the coming years, the number of Americans in space will grow exponentially. This lack of forward thinking can be put down to human nature and organizational behavior: people in bureaucratic settings tend to build what they have built in the past and defend what they have defended in the past. We have seen this kind of shortsightedness before. In the 1920s, the airplane and the tank were developed by the Army. Even the most respected military leaders at the time, Generals John J. Pershing and Douglas MacArthur, opposed independent development of the airplane and the tank because they saw them as subservient to the infantry. Infantry had always been the key to military success, and the generals’ reputations were built on that fact. For them, slow and cautious steps were prudent, and revolutionary steps were reckless. These generals defended the status quo even to the point of court-martialing General Billy Mitchell, who had the audacity to say that the airplane was going to change the character of war and needed to be developed independently in order to achieve its full potential. This type of status quo thinking in the 1920s resulted in needless loss of life during World War II. More airmen were lost in the European theater alone than were marines in the entire war. And countless soldiers died in America’s Sherman tanks, whose shells would bounce off Germany’s Panzer and Tiger tanks. Frontal infantry attacks were launched in order to get Sherman tanks behind the German tanks to fire at close range—the only range at which they could be effective. Many more of our fighting men would have come home and the war would have been shorter if American generals had taken a revolutionary approach to tanks and planes from the beginning. On the other side, consider that a major reason we won World War II when we did was the revolutionary—not slow and cautious—approach we took to developing nuclear weapons with the Manhattan Project. Likewise today, instead of blindly following the bureaucrats and generals in the Defense Department, we need a Manhattan-type project in order to develop the kind of Space Force needed to meet future military challenges. America’s greatest competitor for the high ground of space is Communist China, which is already fully engaged in building effective space capabilities. America is not, and unless it gets off the mark soon, China will dominate the economy and domain of space. Our Air Force today can be compared to a race car that has been winning every race for the last 70 years by averaging 100 miles an hour. We are still in the lead, but China is gaining and averaging 150 miles an hour. The Chinese will quickly surpass us if we do nothing—and when they do, they will set up roadblocks that will make catching up difficult if not impossible. Today, while America is building lighthouses and listening stations that can see and hear what is happening in space, China is building battleships and destroyers that can move fast and strike hard—the equivalent of a Navy in space. China is winning the space race not because it makes better equipment, but because it has a superior strategy. The Chinese are open about their plan to become the dominant power in space by 2049, the centennial of the end of the Communist Chinese Revolution and of the founding of the People’s Republic of China under Mao Zedong. If China stays on its current path, it will deploy nuclear propulsion technology and solar power stations in space within ten years. This will give it the ability to beam clean energy to anyone on Earth—and the power to disable any portion of the American power grid and paralyze our military anywhere on the planet. America is developing no tools to defeat such a strategy, despite the fact that we are spending billions of dollars on exquisite 20th century military equipment. Over the past two centuries, we have seen that technology drives economic prosperity and that economic prosperity is essential to sustaining national security. China’s plan is to profit from the multi-trillion dollar space marketplace while simultaneously acquiring global domination. We are capable of forestalling China’s plan, but only if we begin to build a Space Force soon and on the right plan. To do this, we must first understand China’s strategic goal, which is to dominate the sectors of economic growth that historically have held the key to world power: transportation, energy, information, and manufacturing. Space presents unique economic opportunities because space technology operates on network principles. A network can deliver power, information, or goods from one node to many nodes at a fraction of the increase in cost per customer, as compared to the linear system on which most of our land-based economies are modeled. Compare the cost of sending 100 letters to the cost of sending 100 emails. A space infrastructure, by its nature, is a network system—and these types of systems will always translate to economic advantage. The first nation to build such an infrastructure will dominate the global economy of the 21st century and beyond. China is developing the kind of technologies required to do so: hypersonic missiles and aircraft, 5G telecommunications, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, quantum computing, and robotics. Last January, China landed the Chang’e 4 spacecraft on the far side of the Moon. The mission provided valuable knowledge in terms of commercial and military applications. At one time this sort of mission was not beyond U.S. capabilities, but it is today, and it shows a commitment to space that we lack. To be sure, China has yet to achieve the ability to launch a manned spacecraft, but this is also a capability that we no longer possess—the U.S. relies on Russian rocketry to man and resupply the International Space Station. China’s goal is to have the capability to shut down America’s computer systems and electrical grids at any time or place of its choosing, using directed energy and 5G technologies from space. Space is the strategic high ground from which China will seek to gain control of our media, businesses, land, debt, and markets. Although American companies are working on these new technologies, they are doing so in separate silos. Real power lies in tethering or combining the technologies together in space to achieve a dominant economic advantage. If we choose to compete with China in space, we have a cultural advantage. We are more creative and innovative than China, because we have an open society and a free market. But we must be ambitious and act soon.

That was part of a speech given at Hillsdale College in November 2019 by Lieutenant General Steven L. Kwast (Ret). Lt Gen Kwast is a retired Air Force three-star general and former commander of the Air Education and Training Command at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph. A graduate of the United States Air Force Academy with a degree in astronautical engineering, he holds a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He is a past president of the Air Force’s Air University in Montgomery, Alabama, and a former fighter pilot with extensive combat and command experience. His awards include the Bronze Star and the Distinguished Flying Cross.  He is the author of the study, “Fast Space: Leveraging Ultra Low-Cost Space Access for 21st Century Challenges.”  Lt Gen Kwast is saying exactly what I’ve been saying for over a decade now.  And, his resume and experience only give this position credibility.  Consider this your “Read of the Day.”  If you read only one thing here at The Daily Buzz, then READ THIS!!  Then, pass it along to your friends and family members…and your member of Congress and your two U.S. Senators.  For more from this excellent speech, click on the text above.    🙂