By Rory Cooper
In January, we reported that President Obama was redefining NASA’s mission, and entirely cutting its role in the manned exploration of space. This was not a matter of budget prudence as NASA’s piece of the federal
pie was actually increasing by $300 million. According the Orlando Sentinel at the time: “The White House will direct NASA to concentrate on Earth-science projects — principally, researching and monitoring climate change.” And unlike the rest of President Obama’s government growth strategy, this shift to make NASA a global warming centered agency resulted in net job losses. So what has happened since January? Things have gotten much, much worse for NASA.
In a far-reaching restatement of goals for the nation’s space agency, NASA administrator Charles Bolden says President Obama has ordered him to pursue three new objectives: to “re-inspire children” to study science and math, to “expand our international relationships,” and to “reach out to the Muslim world.” Of those three goals, Bolden said in a recent interview with al-Jazeera, the mission to reach out to Muslims is “perhaps foremost,” because it will help Islamic nations “feel good” about their scientific accomplishments. In the same interview, Bolden also said the United States, which first sent men to the moon in 1969, is no longer capable of reaching beyond low earth orbit without help from other nations.
So beyond the global warming aspect of NASA’s new mission, as exemplified by proposed dollars, Charles Bolden has now revealed that President Obama’s explicit mission for NASA is Muslim outreach and international inspiration. Never mind that nothing about President Obama’s vision for NASA is inspiring to America, yet alone the international community.
In fact, Administrator Bolden went out of his way to suck any inspiration left in American children, when he told Al Jazeera in the same interview: “We’re not going to go anywhere beyond low earth orbit as a single entity. The United States can’t do it, China can’t do it — no single nation is going to go to a place like Mars alone.” Are you feeling inspired? The nation that single-handily put man on the moon is absolutely incapable of achieving greatness in the future, according to our president’s NASA administrator. And our children are left to be inspired by Obama’s international greatness rather than dreams of becoming astronauts. This is really happening America.
Administrator Bolden went on to describe NASA as an “Earth improvement agency” which surely would confuse President Kennedy and other leaders who have sought to inspire the world through stellar achievement rather than platitudes. As Charles Krauthammer said yesterday: “This is a new height in fatuousness…NASA was established to get America into space and to keep us there. This idea to feel good about their past and to make achievements is the worst combination of group therapy, psychobabble, imperial condescension and adolescent diplomacy.”
Of course, the Democrat Party establishment, via their Media Matters outlet, were quick to point out that this hullabaloo is merely right-wing noise about the word “Muslim” which of course misses the point entirely, and merely tries to drown criticism of Obama with the age-old liberal mantra that everyone who doesn’t share their worldview is a racist. Substitute the word ‘Muslim’ for any other group, ethnicity or religion, and President Obama is still failing to comprehend that this is not what most Americans view as an appropriate role for NASA.
Congress should demand that President Obama and Administrator Bolden directly address questions on the future of NASA and his vision. President George W. Bush’s clearly laid out Vision for Space Exploration is obviously not a part of it. Under President Bush, NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale was charged with ensuring Bush’s vision would achieve his goal of transcending presidents and politics. She failed. Politics has never been more evident at NASA. We’re left with an agency in chaos and a president whose vision of America’s greatness lies in our humility, rather than our shining example.
NASA deserves better. America deserves better. All of mankind, who NASA has inspired for fifty years, deserve better.