In a project the Autonomous Space Agency Network is calling the "first protest in near space," the group has sent a message to President Donald Trump from 90,000 feet above Earth.
ASAN, which advocates for "DIY space exploration," used a homemade weather balloon to carry a large printed tweet for the president and a camera up into the sky, The Huffington Post reports. The message didn't make it into what is technically considered space, but it got high enough to see the planet's curve.
The tweet referenced a quote from NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who walked on the moon. He had spoken about the experience of seeing the planet from space.
"When you see Earth from outer space, you develop a global consciousness," said Mitchell. "An intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it."
"From out there on the moon, international politics seem so petty," Mitchell continued. "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 b****.'"
The tweet from ASAN, which was launched 90,000 feet into the sky, read, "[Donald Trump]: LOOK AT THAT, YOU SON OF A B****."
ASAN posted a two and a half hour video of the balloon flying up on YouTube, and said that the stunt was done in solidarity with the March For Science. The March For Science protest, which will take place on Earth Day on April 22, will bring together advocates and leaders to call for the Trump administration to take science into account in its policy decisions.
ASAN said it spent only $750 on the launch, The Daily Caller reports. ASAN added that the balloon was launched from AN52, one of many concrete crosses that were used to calibrate early satellites used for espionage. According to ASAN, it used 160 cubic feet of helium and two helium tanks, alongside the balloon, a GPS, and a $120 camera to pull off the stunt.
Trump signed a bill in March that added a manned mission to Mars as a goal for NASA, while also approving its $19.5 billion budget. However, the Trump administration has also reportedly told the agency to change its priorities from climate change research to focus mainly on space missions. The president has previously suggested the global warming is a "hoax," according to Scientific American.
"Almost half a century ago our brave astronauts first planted the American flag on the moon. That was a big moment in our history. Now this nation is ready to be the first in space once again," said Trump at a signing ceremony for the bill according to The Washington Times.
A budget Trump proposed in March included cuts to many of NASA's Earth-monitoring programs, including terminating four Earth science missions, and slashing funding for Earth science research grants, according to Vox.