Neil deGrasse Tyson gives the scientific case for Trump’s Space Force and adds an idea: asteroid defense


Renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson says Trump's idea to establish a Space Force as the sixth branch of the military isn't the craziest idea. In fact, it makes a lot of sense scientifically and geopolitically, he explained to SalonTV's Amanda Marcotte on "Salon Talks."

"Just because it came out of Trump's mouth doesn't make it the craziest idea. We should evaluate it on its own," Tyson said. But, the scientist noted, we already have a space force, referencing the U.S. Space Command branch of the Air Force. The proposed new branch of Space Force would simply move those activities into a separate division.

If the president goes ahead with the idea, Tyson has some recommendations that maybe not everyone is thinking of, such as an asteroid defense program and space debris clean up efforts.

The topic is close to Tyson's current project, a new book exploring the relationship between astrophysics, technology and the military, "Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military," co-authored by researcher Avis Lang. The book combines his personal experience and research with historical context to examine how the universe has been used as both a laboratory and a battlefield across science, technology and power.

Watch the video above to hear more from Tyson on where he thinks the United States should be focusing its efforts on war and space. And, check out the full interview to hear about how Tyson grappled with the idea that technology and scientific discoveries have been used to wage war.

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