The Washington Examiner is reporting on an interesting tidbit that Douglas Brinkley, a famous American historian, let drop after meeting with #Donald Trump at his home at Mar-a-lago in Florida where the president elect is staying for the holidays. Trump, Brinkley said, is very interested in seeing a man go to the moon. The statement gave heart to a lot of supporters of #Space exploration but also some tittering on social media. Naturally some have raised suspicions that Trump may not have heard of Apollo 11 and Neil Armstrong.

The ribbing is likely unfair to Trump. While the president elect sometimes assumes the persona of a person who may not know much about history, those people who have made assumptions as a result have found themselves confounded.

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In any case, one of Trump’s most high profile advisors is former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich who, when he ran for president in 2012, proposed the establishment of a moon base but the end of the decade. The idea was ridiculed by the eventual Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who went on to lose the general election to President Obama.

Fast forward four years later finds the idea of a return to the moon getting more support. The goal is more easily accomplished than NASA’s current Journey to Mars. It is more in line with the desires of potential international partners such as the European Union and commercial companies such as Moon Express and Astrobotic. Sound political, scientific, and commercial reasons exist for a return to the moon. A moon landing could be accomplished by the second term of a Trump presidency, meaning that he would have the glory of proposing it and seeing the thing accomplished.

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Access to lunar water, which could be refined into rocket fuel, could be used to facilitate the Mars goal.

As for Gingrich, seeing people return to the moon and establishing a moon base would constitute revenge served cold against Romney, a man for whom he has not bothered to conceal his disdain. As for Trump, Brinkley has no doubt informed him of the historical cache that the first moon landing gave to President John F. Kennedy. Of course, if many more than one man and women as well could go to the moon, Trump’s glory might surpass that of JFK.