Trump promises first presidential state visit to exoplanet
We distort, you deride
Tuesday, July 17, 2018, 23:17:UTC)(
24 August 2016
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- In the wake of NASA's declaration that there is an Earth-like planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, Presidential candidate Donald Trump promised a large crowd of supporters in motorcycle leather and farm overalls that he would "suit up" as well, and become the first President to campaign outside the solar system.
The NASA project, called the Little Red Dot Project, seeks to locate new little red dots on the galactic map. Trump expressed eagerness to turn them all into little blue dots, "or at least purple," until an aide informed him that his party of convenience is the one signified by red. At that time he demonstrated his signature ability to argue just as strenuously for a move in the opposite direction.
It is not clear how many votes Proxima b has in the Electoral College, but there are surely voters there anxious for an unconventional alternative to Republican Party "business-as-usual." Proxima Centauri is so big and dim, to stretch the Trump analogy, that the newfound planet could have liquid water, enabling cash bars at countless Republican cocktail parties where concerned voters could meet and be enthralled by the candidate. Since the planet's discovery, NASA engineers have engaged in a week-long email battle, furiously asserting that what we know about "b" does not positively rule out the possibility of life, this because there might be money to search for it there, while there will not be much of it for study of a dry, lifeless slag heap continually facing a sun spewing infrared light and X-rays. Trump noted that there may be brown dwarfs in the vicinity, constituting another chance for him to show Hillary Clinton he is no racist, as she has charged.
Proxima Centauri is only 4.2 light-years away from Earth, which means one could be there and back again in only slightly more time than two Presidential terms — if one were light. Trump is not light at all, but expressed confidence that his Vice-Presidential nominee, Mike Pence, could attend to the business of state while he is "abroad" stumping for votes.
NASA did not actually "see" the new planet, but only measured that Proxima's movement through the cosmos is not constant, but that it jiggles as though it had a baby on its hip. However, lots of women do, though thankfully, Hillary does not. NASA is confident that the new planet's orbit does not line up with Earth. That means it will never pass right in front of Proxima to let us use telescopes to look for shadows of high-rise casinos or water towers. That means we have to go there, and before the Russkies.
NASA has proposed a project called Breakthrough Starshot, in which scads of space probes the size of matchbooks, each with a sail the size of Rhode Island, would be sent to Proxima b, propelled by a 100-megawatt laser, NASA taking care that the beam gently blows against the sail rather than punching through it. This sailing configuration is called a "broad reach," not that the project's concept is not one. The probes could attain a speed of 0.20c and would hope to start sending back data before the United States goes completely bankrupt and reverts to subsistence farming.
- "Scientists Hit 'Jackpot,' Find Earth-Like Planet at Star Next Door". Associated Press, August 24, 2016