On February 25, the Chief of Space Operations for the United States Space Force General John W. “Jay” Raymond and renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson sat down for a virtual talk about space and how America’s newest branch is preparing to secure it. And while the conversation was designed to bolster transparency about space and create a sense of cooperation between America’s scientific community and the military, it also, accidentally, revealed some startling implications about the domain and America’s sprint to retain preeminence over it.    

The talk was organized by the Air Force Association as part of the annual Aerospace Warfare Symposium, a professional development event designed to highlight the future technologies and challenges of the aerospace and defense industries. The symposium was held live and later shared on YouTube. 

While well-intended, the 40-minute discussion between General Raymond and the ever-spirited Tyson was awkward at times. Occasionally, it felt as the audience had just stumbled across two guys at a bar bantering about top-secret material.