SpaceX founder Elon Musk cut through the excitement surrounding future travel to Mars Monday, noting "it's difficult, dangerous," and there's a "good chance you will die." A day later, President Trump appeared more optimistic, claiming Americans will reach Mars "very soon" and touting plans for a potential "space force" like in Star Wars, Politico reports. "My new national strategy for space recognizes that space is a warfighting domain, just like the land, air, and sea," Trump told an audience at a Marine Corps air station in San Diego on Tuesday. "I was saying it the other day ... 'Maybe we need a new force, we'll call it the Space Force.' And I was not really serious," he continued, per Business Insider. "Then I said, 'What a great idea, maybe we'll have to do that.'"
The idea isn't Trump's. A "Space Corps" was first proposed last July by Congress' Strategic Forces Subcommittee. But it was left out of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act passed in November, with White House officials and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis speaking against it. Trump also seemed to take credit for advancements that could allow for flights to Mars as early as 2019. "You wouldn't have been going to Mars if my opponent won, that I can tell you," Trump said, referring to his 2016 election rival Hillary Clinton. Trump later tweeted it was a "great honor" to address military members. In what CNN's Jim Acosta refers to as "baffling," Marine Corps was spelled "Marine Core" in a version of the tweet, since deleted. (Read more President Trump stories.)