I love the space program and, in fact, spent a very hot summer some years back at the Johnson Space Center outside of Houston working on their oral history project. I wrote twenty and thirty page biographies of some of the guys formerly at Mission Control, for internal NASA publication, to be used as the basis of future interviews with these individuals.
What could possibly be more fascinating, after all, or more of a test of the human potential, or of more scientific benefit, than space exploration? Human beings are the consciousness of this planet. We are the means by which the Earth comes to know itself. It is our job as human beings to learn about where we are, what the Earth consists of, what the natural processes consist of, and what is around us. It is NASA's job, within that larger project, to explore space.
For years, however, I have been hearing that the Obama administration is primarily using NASA as a means of outreach to the Muslim world. Whenever I would read stories along these lines it would always raise an eyebrow for me. I just found it difficult to believe that even the Obama administration would undermine NASA's historic mission in favor of diplomatic outreach.
Finally this morning I decided to look into the matter and quickly came upon this bit of interview with NASA chief Charles Bolden from a 2010 interview with, of all outlets, Al Jazeera. In that interview Bolden said that Obama wanted NASA's top priorities to be to inspire students to study science and math, to expand NASA's international relationships, and "perhaps foremost... to reach out to the Muslim world... to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science... and math and engineering."
NASA's job under Barack Obama is to help the Muslim world feel good?
Is this a joke?
It's just unbelievable, but the video at the top of this page confirms it. I have been operating under the assumption that those who complained about NASA's outreach program were complaining about some relatively minor part of what NASA does but according to Bolden, who is the guy in charge, outreach is not periphery, but essential these days. Yet the Space Shuttle is decommissioned under Obama and thus the United States no longer has any way of getting into space unless we want to hitch a ride with the Russians.
This may have nothing to do with the Arab-Israel conflict, but I find it personally offensive.
Space exploration is a goal that speaks to the very highest nature of what humanity can accomplish and, yet, under this administration it is downgraded into an effort to make the Muslim world feel good about itself?
What a disgrace.
You'll have to excuse me while I go vomit.