President Donald Trump has signed a directive that authorises NASA to return American astronauts to the Moon - a mission that would lay the foundation for a possible mission to Mars. The renewed emphasis on space exploration, said Trump, is to ensure America's primacy in space, to protect its citizens, and to create jobs. But while a coherent and ambitious space program is welcome news, the announcement can also be seen as a distraction.
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Remember Palmer Luckey? You know, the disgraced Oculus founder and cosplay enthusiast who left Facebook in the midst of a $US2 billion ($2.7 billion) lawsuit? Well, it looks like Luckey is ready to wreak more havoc upon the world, this time in the form of a virtual border wall that he might sell to the Trump administration. You'll never guess who wants to pay for it.
Remember the day after the US presidential inauguration? OK, we were hungover, too, but do you remember how Trump violated US federal records-keeping laws by illegally deleting his tweets? Turns out, the National Archives also heard about that and took action.
In 2016, a coalition of 28 US states sued the Environmental Protection Agency, alleging that a new US federal plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions called the "Clean Power Plan" was illegal, unfairly penalised coal-dependent states and would cause massive layoffs in the energy sector. But according to a new report released Wednesday, the US isn't just meeting the federal requirements, its currently poised to significantly surpass them.
On Tuesday, the executive branch's apparent campaign to silence reality reached a disturbing new low when (objectively true) tweets by Badlands National Park referencing climate change were mysteriously deleted. It's unclear whether this was done directly at the White House's behest, but restrictive gag orders by the Trump administration have already leaked from several federal agencies, muzzling them online.
Last week, the transition team of the US president-elect sent a survey to the Department of Energy asking for a list of staff members who have worked on climate change policies. This week the department told Trump, in essence, "nope." Trump is now backing down.