As soon as President Trump announced his plans for a new branch of the U.S. military called the “Space Force,” the idea was widely mocked, mainly by Trump’s usual detractors. But there was one voice adored by liberals who thought it wasn’t such a bad idea, and that person was famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Speaking to TMZ this July, Tyson said that the idea of a Space Force isn’t all that crazy.
“Let’s go back to the 1940s — there was the ‘Army Air Force,'” Tyson told TMZ. “They were a branch of the Army, until aeronautics burgeoned as a defense platform unto itself, and then the Air Force split away form the Army.”
“Today, you’re not questioning, ‘Why is there an Air Force?'” Tyson continued. “… So it’s odd that people are saying it’s Trump’s [idea]. This idea has been around for decades.”
“Just because it came from Trump doesn’t mean it’s crazy. … For example, what happens when the next asteroid comes and it’s going to take us out? I would want a Space Force … to bat the thing out of harm’s way.”
In a post to Twitter this Monday, Tyson didn’t walk back his opinion, but he did add an important qualifier.
“I’m okay with a US Space Force,” he tweeted. “But what we need most is a Truth Force — one that defends against all enemies of accurate information, both foreign & domestic.”
I’m okay with a US Space Force. But what we need most is a Truth Force — one that defends against all enemies of accurate information, both foreign & domestic.
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) August 20, 2018
The idea of a government-run “Truth Force” is a little unnerving to some people (rightly so), so one person asked Tyson to clarify.
“Dr. Tyson, you want us to have a government branch dedicated to telling us what public information is accurate and what public information is not?” Twitter user @Hyped4Sci asked. “With all due respect, sir, that seems like a very bad idea.”
According to Tyson, a private, non-profit organization would be a “good start.”
“The National Academy of Sciences, which “…provides objective, science-based advice on critical issues affecting the nation,” Tyson replied.
Either way, I’m all for blowing incoming asteroids out the sky.
Featured image via screen grab/YouTube