President Donald Trump reportedly "gave NASA all the money you could ever need" to land on Mars for the first term in office, according to New York Magazine called an upcoming memoir of a former White House official.
In "Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days at the White House by Trump," Cliff Sims, former director of embassy strategy for White House, recalls that Trump is about to call astronauts aboard the International Space Station in April 2017 a deep voice expressed fascination for sending people to Mars in his first term.
In a private dining room with representatives of NASA, Trump allegedly questioned his audience about the possibility of landing on Mars. Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot Jr. said the US would try to land a human on Mars by 2030.
"But is there any way to do this until the end of my first term?" Trump asked Sims.
Sims writes that because of Trump's abrupt question shortly before a phone call with the space station in the room, he "went mad". It has been suggested that NASA officials have made great efforts to coordinate with the space station, which was only accessible at a certain time due to "orbital mechanics".
"All I could think about was that we had to be in front of the camera in three minutes … And yet, casually, we casually chat that we have a full decade off the NASA schedule for sending a manned flight to Mars have cut off, "wrote Sims. "And apparently from nowhere."
Trump, who appeared "distracted," reported to Lightfoot, "But what if I gave you all the money you could ever need?"
"What if we sent the NASA budget through the roof, but focused on it rather than on everything you do now, could it work," Trump said.
Lightfoot repeated the logistical hurdles to Trump, who, according to Sims, appeared to be "obviously disappointed".
After a few seconds, the report said Trump went into a bathroom to check his appearance, looked in the mirror and said, "Space Station, this is your president."
Trump put his previous question to the astronaut Peggy Whitson aboard the space station.
"Where do you see a time to actually send people to Mars?" Trump asked Whitson during the call.
After pointing out the technological and legislative challenges that such an effort would bring, Trump seemed to jest that he wanted to complete the space mission "in my first term, or at worst in my second term."
"I think we need to speed things up," Trump said.
One month before his call, Trump signed a $ 19.5 billion bill to finance NASA. The licensing bill forced NASA to explore Mars and was reportedly the first of its kind in seven years.
Sims, who helped create Trump's presidential campaign, now runs a boutique consulting firm. "Team of Vipers" is ranked # 7 on the Amazon bestseller list at the time of writing. The release is scheduled for January 29th.