But don't expect Captain Kirk ordering phasers set on stun, Battlestar Galactica or ray guns blazing in orbit in the near future, space experts said.
"Space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air, and sea", he said. Very soon we're going to Mars.
Trump's own defence secretary and air force secretary argued vociferously against it when members of Congress pushed it a year ago, Sean O'Keefe, who was both NASA administrator and navy secretary under president George W. Bush, told the Associated Press. You wouldn't be going to Mars if my opponent won, that I can tell you.
It could be a bureaucratic nightmare, said O'Keefe, a professor at Syracuse University.More news: Nicolas Cage finally gets his Superman shot from Teen Titans
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"You know I was saying it the other day - because you know, we're doing a tremendous amount of work in space - I said maybe we need a new force, we'll call it the Space Force".
While Trump was nearly jokingly floating the idea, there has always been a military aspect to the space race.
The directive orders NASA "to lead an innovative space exploration program to send American astronauts back to the Moon, and eventually Mars", according to the White House. "We have the Air Force, we'll have the Space Force". The idea was finally dropped from the Pentagon's funding bill by the end of a year ago, but it retains some support in Congress, where advocates say the U.S. is facing significant strategic vulnerabilities in the face of Russian and Chinese pushes into space warfare. The Air Force called the mandate "unnecessary", and some have said the corps would be redundant due to the branch's existing space efforts. "We should learn from our mistakes on Earth and keep space peaceful".