Edgar Mitchell, the late NASA astronaut who had walked on the moon, once said that when you see Earth from outer space, you develop a “global consciousness … an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it.”
“From out there on the Moon, international politics look so petty,” Mitchell continued. “You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.’”
Those same words were evoked this week in a project the Autonomous Space Agency Network is calling the “first protest in space.”
ASAN, an organization that promotes “DIY space exploration,” sent a tweet high above Earth using a homemade weather balloon in an attempt to get President Donald Trump’s attention.
The balloon floated 90,000 feet into the sky, toting a large printed tweet for Trump and a video camera. Although it didn’t reach the layer of atmosphere that is technically considered outer space, the balloon did get high enough for the camera to record the tweet floating above the curvature of the planet.
Its message was exactly what Mitchell had suggested: “LOOK AT THAT, YOU SON OF A BITCH.”
ASAN “is a decentralized and open group of like minded autonomous astronauts,” a spokesperson for ASAN who only identified themselves as “LV” said in a message to The Huffington Post.
“Our purpose is to promote DIY space exploration using both art and science, free from the influence of military or corporate interests.”
The group launched its weather balloon tweet as a show of solidarity with the March for Science protest, which takes places on Earth Day, April 22. Professionals and advocates for science are hosting the event to celebrate the role scientists play in public policy and highlight the Trump administration’s anti-science agendas.
On April 22, people all over the world will March for Science. Will you join us? https://t.co/JtSSEa6ino https://t.co/8t0apuBUKU pic.twitter.com/8ABr5UHB7F— March for Science (@ScienceMarchDC) April 13, 2017
ASAN published a two-and-a-half hour video of the balloon’s ascent on Wednesday, more than a week ahead of the protest.
The group wrote on its YouTube channel: “In solidarity with the upcoming March for Science (4/22), the Autonomous Space Agency Network is proud to have executed the first protest in near space (~90,000 ft).”
FUN FACT: the protest tweet was launched from AN52, one of dozens of concrete crosses near Phx used to calibrate the first spy satellites— ASAN (@ASANspace) April 13, 2017
Last month, Trump signed a bill into law that approved NASA’s $19.5 billion budget and added the human exploration of Mars as an objective for the agency. But the president’s administration also urged NASA to abandon its climate change research and focus largely on space missions instead.
Some people saw ASAN’s sky-high tweet as an innovative jab at Trump’s policies, while others were simply in awe of seeing a tweet above space.
Yes this is real, and it was directed to Trump. Courtesy of ASAN. .@ASANspace, You guys are awesome! pic.twitter.com/cVlvPjutsw— ALT WASO NPS (@AltWASONPS) April 14, 2017
@ASANspace @realDonaldTrump Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for this.— ThinkItThrough (@ThinkItThruUSA) April 13, 2017
@ASANspace @CorruptNSW @realDonaldTrump Only thing wrong, Donald is not holding onto it— Ron Jones❄ (@RBJRON) April 14, 2017
Watch the tweet travel through the sky in ASAN’s video below.
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