In Brief

Election 2016: Keep Tabs on the Presidential Candidates' Space Plans

Apollo 11: Buzz Aldrin on the Moon
Buzz Aldrin stands on the moon during NASA’s Apollo 11 mission in July 1969. (Image credit: NASA)

You can now keep track of everything the 2016 presidential candidates say about spaceflight and exploration, thanks to the nonprofit Planetary Society.

The Planetary Society, an exploration advocacy organization headed by former TV "Science Guy" Bill Nye, is cataloguing the space-related statements made by Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and other contenders as the presidential primary election events get into full swing.

"Space rarely makes a strong showing in national elections, despite the major state of transition NASA finds itself in today," Planetary Society representatives wrote on the group's "Election 2016" hub page, which you can find here.

"So throughout the 2016 Presidential election season, The Planetary Society will be tracking statements made by the candidates referring to civil space issues," they added. "Working with our members, we are cataloguing and sourcing as many statements for the active candidates as we can find."

The Iowa caucuses kick off the voting contests Monday (Feb. 1), followed by the New Hampshire primaries on Feb. 9.

NASA must often shift its goals and priorities as new presidential administrations take power. For example, in 2010, President Barack Obama cancelled the moon-oriented Constellation program, which was initiated under President George W. Bush, and directed the space agency instead to work toward getting astronauts to a near-Earth asteroid by 2025, and to the vicinity of Mars in the 2030s.

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.