While the United States Space Force aims for the stars in their mission to protect the country, their newest recruit has four hooves planted firmly on the ground. Ghost, a five-year-old BLM mustang, is proving that Space Force isn't all about rocket ships and satellites. The military working horse is the newest equine to join the Conservation Working Horse Program. And while he won't be donning a space suit any time soon, he still has important work to do.
Before we get any further, let's answer the biggest question on everyone's minds: Is Ghost going to space?
The answer to that question is a confirmed "no." If you think trailering your horse is frustrating, can you imagine getting this big guy to safely board a rocket ship? Besides, a horse-sized space suit sounds expensive.
Instead of being the first horse in space, Ghost has plenty of work to do here on Earth.
Adopted from the Bureau of Land Management program, which captures wild mustangs and offers them new homes, Ghost is currently going through his version of basic training. He was recruited into Vandenberg Air Force Base's Conservation Working Horse Program to contribute to an important mission. He'll be helping his handlers patrol the large natural area of Vandenberg Air Force Base to protect endangered species and enforce fish and game laws.
As the fifth largest Air Force base in the country, Vandenberg consists of 99,600 acres in southern California. The base includes hundreds of acres of pristine natural environment and is home to several endangered species. Many of those areas, including the beaches and steep hills, are impossible to traverse via military vehicle. Horses, on the other hand, can travel safely through the natural environment while doing minimal damage to the protected surroundings.
It will be Ghost's job to escort his human handlers to these areas off the beaten path. They will keep tabs on the endangered species and patrol the area for potential threats. They'll also help enforce conservation efforts with fish and game laws. And they can even respond to injured hikers, hunters, and animals.
Horses are the most environmentally friendly way to travel across the protected land. It's not as exciting as exploring new planets or rocketing through space, but Ghost will be an important part of protecting our home planet.