Before Rep. Jim Bridenstine was nominated to lead NASA, he already had unorthodox ideas about what it should do.
In 2016, as one of Oklahoma’s congressmen, he proposed the American Space Renaissance Act, which he called a “pioneering doctrine” that would refocus NASA’s mission. The space agency would concentrate on human spaceflight and “permanently secure the United States of America as the preeminent spacefaring nation.” Bridenstine’s vision would eliminate two of NASA’s current stated missions — to pursue aeronautical and space activities for peaceful and scientific purposes, and to expand knowledge of Earth and its atmosphere.
(Bridenstine has said that there’s no credible evidence that CO2 affects the global climate.) In their place, his plan would spread human influence throughout the solar system and ensure the U.S. shows up first on alien worlds — and gets them ready for use by humans.