To infinity and beyond? Space Force may be a real thing by 2020

On Thursday, August 9, Americans found out that President Donald Trump is serious about the creation of a Space Force, and it will be here sooner rather than later. In a morning speech at the Pentagon, Vice President Mike Pence laid out the administration’s plans, which state the Space Force may be established as soon as 2020.

“As President Trump has said, in his words, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space — we must have American dominance in space. And so we will,” Pence said to attendees. “Space is, in his words, a war-fighting domain just like land and air and sea.”

According to a Department of Defense report released Thursday, the Space Force would be the sixth branch of the military, tasked with protecting United States security interests in space. Its aim would be “to deter and if necessary degrade, deny, disrupt, destroy, and manipulate adversary capabilities to protect U.S. interests, assets, and way of life.”

Some of these strategies would involve the development and use of anti-satellite weapons, communications jamming technologies, and enhancements to the U.S. radar and GPS systems. The Space Force itself would be created from the reorganization of pre-existing space programs and personnel, Pence says, and is designed to respond to efforts by countries like Russia and China, who have already stepped up efforts to develop space weapons.

“As their actions make clear, our adversaries have transformed space into a war-fighting domain already, and the United States will not shrink from this challenge,” Pence argued.

The report specifies three different agencies coming under the Space Force umbrella: The Space Development Agency, the Space Operations Force, Services and Support, and the Space Command, to be led by a four-star general. Given that the creation of a new military branch requires Congressional authorization, plans are to formally request the establishment within the 2020 budget.

Given the timing, it seems fairly likely that Trump plans to make his Space Force plans a significant part of his 2020 re-election campaign.

When Trump alluded to his idea for a new American branch of the military in space, the idea was met with a combination of excitement, dread, and derision. Pro-military analysts lauded it as a way to protect our increasing dependence on technology, much of which is served from satellites in space. But others have criticized the plan as wasteful.

That’s what former NASA astronaut Capt. Mark Kelly did on Thursday, telling MSNBC that “it doesn’t make sense to build a whole other level of bureaucracy in an incredibly bureaucratic DoD,” pointing out that the Air Force Space Command already is doing much of the Space Force’s work already.

Emerging Tech

Death from above? How we’re preparing for a future filled with weaponized drones

Drones are beginning to enable everything from search & rescue, to the delivery of medicines to hard-to-reach places. But they are also being used as cheap, and deadly flying bombs. How can we defend ourselves?
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (October 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this fall with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Castle Rock'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we've put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Emerging Tech

Biologists have found a hormone that could make space farming possible

Researchers have shown how space farming may be possible. By encouraging plants to excrete a certain hormone, they’ve demonstrated that crops can thrive despite challenging conditions, such as low-nutrient soil and microgravity.
Emerging Tech

This 3D-printed house made of earth and rice husks costs less than an iPhone

Italian 3D-printing company WASP has just demonstrated the 3D printing of a hut structure using a combination of 3D-printed concrete and a mud-based material. All for around $1,000.
Emerging Tech

Scientists want to bore holes through clouds using lasers from satellites

Researchers at the University of Geneva in Switzerland have proposed a plan to use ultra-hot and ultra-short laser beams to punch through cloud layers and transmit information from satellites to Earth.
Emerging Tech

Behind the unsettling sci-fi landscapes of Simon Stalenhag’s ‘Electric State’

The narrative artbook follows the journey of a young traveler, Michelle, and her robot, Skip, as they head west to the Pacific coast through an alternative America torn apart by civil war and the trappings of military-grade virtual reality.
Emerging Tech

Get your head in the clouds with the best vaporizers for flower and concentrates

Why combust dead plant matter when you could vaporize the good stuff and leave the leaves behind? Here's a rundown of the best vaporizers money can buy, no matter what your style is.
Emerging Tech

Get one of the best cheap drones you can buy, and cry less when you crash

Want to get in on all this hot drone action, but don't want to spend half a paycheck to make it happen? There are actually lots of feature-packed budget options. Check out this list of the best drones under $500.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I.-powered cat toys, wallets, food containers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Here are the best (and least likely to explode) hoverboards you can buy

With widespread reports of cheap, knock-off Chinese hoverboards exploding, these self-balancing scooters may be getting a rough reputation. They're not all bad, though. Ride in style with our picks for the best -- and safest -- hoverboards
Product Review

Parrot Anafi drone review

It’s definitely not perfect, and there are a few little things that could be improved, but even so, Anafi is unquestionably the best drone that Parrot has ever made.
Emerging Tech

Looking for a good read? Here are the best, most eye-opening books about tech

Sometimes it's sensible to put down the gadgets and pick up a good old-fashioned book -- to read about the latest gadgets, of course. Here are the tech books you need to check out.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX Starlink: Here’s everything you need to know

SpaceX Starlink is the name of Elon Musk's ambitious plan to blanket the globe with high speed broadband internet via a network of satellites. Here's everything you need to know about it