In President Donald Trump’s weekly address to the nation, he reviewed a unique moment in the history of NASA, its Hubble telescope, and the future of the James Webb space telescope as he highlighted this week’s signing of the NASA Transition Authorization Act into law.
Trump began telling the country that he was honored to sign the bill in the company of astronauts. He continued, “With this legislation we renew our national commitment to NASA’s mission of exploration and discovery and we continue a tradition that is as old as mankind — we look to the heavens with wonder and curiosity.”
Trump recalled 1995 when billions in taxpayer dollars were going to the Hubble Space telescope.
The astronomer in charge had a novel idea. He wanted to use the expensive telescope in a total unconventional way. Instead of pointing Hubble’s eye at nearby stars or distant formations, Robert Williams wanted to peer into the void. He aimed the massive telescope at one of the emptiest regions of the night sky. For ten days during Christmas of 1995, Hubble stared into the abyss, seeking whatever light it could glean from the darkness, and it was total darkness.
Trump went on, “Williams was rewarded and the entire world was struck by the awesome images our satellite returned.”
Hubble returned images of thousands of lights, said Trump, each one representing an entire galaxy. “The unforgettable image did not satisfy our deep hunger for knowledge—it increased evermore and even more and reminded us how much we do not know about space, frankly, how much we do not know about life.”
Trump said that the the reauthorization will continue such success with the James Webb telescope, set to launch in 2018. “It will gaze back through time and space to the very first stars and the earliest galaxies in the universe.”
“NASA’s greatest discoveries teach us many, many things,” said Trump, who lauded Congress’s ability to work together to “reaffirm our nation’s commitment to expanding the frontiers of knowledge.”
He said one lesson was, “the need to view old questions with fresh eyes, to have the courage to look for answers in places we have never looked before, to think in new ways because we have new information.”
“Most of all, new discoveries remind us that in America, anything is possible if we have the courage and wisdom to learn,” the President continued.
“I am confident that if Americans can achieve these things, there is no problem we cannot solve, there is no challenge we cannot meet, there is no aim that is too high” said Trump. “We are a nation of problem solvers and the future belongs to us.”
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