Well, not exactly in space. Despite this action being dubbed the “first protest in space,” it was actually held in near-space – the region of Earth’s atmosphere that lies between 20 and 100 km above sea level. And the first ever actual protest in space should be awarded to Skylab 4’s astronaut crew Jerry Carr, Ed Gibson, and William Pogue, who held a strike on Dec. 28, 1973, in protest of NASA’s grueling work schedule.
Nonetheless, ASAN’s message was loud and clear. Flying aboard the agency’s first ever launch vehicle, the Aphrodite 1, a message in the form of a tweet could be seen lifting up above Earth. The message: “@realDonaldTrump: LOOK AT THAT, YOU SON OF A BITCH.”
As a show of solidarity with the upcoming March for Science, of which will be held nationwide on April 22, ASAN decided to take this opportunity by quoting Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell, the sixth person to walk on the Moon, who is famously known for his blunt message to Earth: “From out there on the Moon, international politics look so petty. 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.'”
Considering that President Trump has recently proposed budget cuts to NASA, the NOAA, the EPA, and NIH, I’d say ASAN’s version of the Overview Effect was not only warranted but very much needed!
As for what’s next for the independent space agency, ASAN appears dead set on continuing its work in transforming space exploration into an open-source movement based on their five principles:
1. Everyone is always already an astronaut.
2. Outer space is open by definition, and must be democratic and accessible to all autonauts.
3. Relegating space solely to government actors and corporate interests necessarily creates false and unsustainable divides in the otherwise radically free cosmic environment.
4. The only sustainable and democratic method of exploring outer space must be rooted in a decentralized network of community-based, autonomous space agencies.
5. Space exploration without art is not worth the effort. The very existence of autonomous space agencies presupposes a will to creative independence.
SEE YOU IN SPACE!