Friday, January 16, 2009

Politics and Space Exploration Don't Mix

For the most part my latest screaming rambles have been about the incoming administration, a slight divergence from the topic of this blog which is what happened to science fiction and our space program.

With the latest news coming from the incoming administration it looks as if I will be set up for more screaming rambles. But now it more closely follows the topic of this blog, particularly the “what happened to the space program section”.

Let me start off with a little backstory. One of the first names bandied about as on the short list by the incoming administration to head NASA was Chalie Bolden a former astronaut that flew on four shuttle missions, and had an extensive administrative background and a solid technical background. I looked into his bio and was pleased to see what he would bring to NASA. Then came the environmental scientist Charles Kennel, whose was the director of Mission to Planet Earth, during the Clinton era. A fairly strong administrative background but his science emphasis since his academic work was in Earth science, and I could see the writing on the wall. NASA was to be the flag bearer for the war on global warming, and space flight at most would be stuck in Low Earth Orbit. Forget going to the moon or Mars during this administration, and forget about laying the ground work for going there during future administrations. With Bolden being put on a short list of directors for NASA my fear of our space program being dismantled surfaced and I began to read deeper at what was coming out of the incoming administration. Somewhere I read that obama had a plan to put the return to the moon portion of NASA under DOD, the reason being that the DOD had rockets that were proven and the technology wouldn’t need to be developed as with the current course. Hmmm where is this going.

Yesterday I read that the short short list name is retired Air Force Major General Jonathan Scott Gration. Gration did a year as a White House Fellow working for NASA's deputy administrator at the time, Hans Mark. He has a BS in Mechanical Engineering, and a Master of Arts in national security studies. But he was one of the first high ranking officers to openly support obama and he was military advisor to obama during the campaign. This to me smelled like a pay off to a friend, but at a deeper level it looked as if a set up for a hit man, and the target was NASA.

So now during my screaming rambles about “what happened to the space program”, I can look back to this moment, and know why we haven’t returned to the moon, why we haven’t gone from mars, and why China is looking down on the Earth from their permanent base at the sea of tranquility.

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