Now that the space shuttle program has been retired, NASA can start focusing on its primary mission: reaching out to the Muslim world.
In 1961, John F. Kennedy promised that America would be the first country to land a man on the moon. It was an exciting time for the space program and many amazing accomplishments were achieved, including the fulfillment of Kennedy’s promise, the moon landing of 1969. It is quite sad to see how NASA has suffered in the last four decades. Instead of excitement about the space program, there is a sense that it is coming to an end with the retirement of the space shuttle.
Who could have predicted that NASA would no longer explore space, the final frontier? Despite all of the technology breakthroughs in the last four decades, our country is currently incapable of replicating what was done in 1969, sending an astronaut to the Moon.
NASA is a perfect example of a government bureaucracy that became inefficient, top heavy with management and lost sight of its most important objectives. Back in the 1960’s with the advent of the Apollo program, NASA was an adept and nimble agency, able to meet Kennedy’s ambitious challenge.
Today, we have a President who is not asking the agency to shoot for the stars. Instead, Barack Obama has other goals for NASA, such as studying the so-called problem of man made global warming.
Liberals like President Obama do not want astronauts reaching for the stars, they want rocket scientists to place their focus on Planet Earth, studying global temperatures and producing research that will support green energy initiatives.
Incredibly, President Obama’s other primary mission for NASA is to reach out to the Muslim world. Last year, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden told Al-Jazeera television that President Obama gave him three primary tasks: encourage children to learn about math and science, improve relations with foreign nations and "perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science ... and math and engineering."
It is ludicrous for NASA to be focused on Muslim outreach or boosting the self esteem of the Islamic world. NASA should not be an arm of the State Department. It is just another indication of how far the agency has strayed from its primary mission.
For the foreseeable future, our country will have to hitchhike on the Russian Soyuz capsule to reach the International Space Station at a cost of $60 million per passenger. The concrete Bush administration plans to reach the Moon and Mars have been scrapped and future space initiatives seem very questionable. While Bolden boasts of a future mission to land an astronaut on an asteroid, there is no space vehicle in production to carry out these unfocused goals. In the meantime, the Hubble telescope will never be serviced again and, according to former NASA administrator Michael Griffin, our country’s space flight programs are at “an end for the indefinite future.”
Several companies in the private sector are working on plans to send tourists into low earth orbit, but none of these companies can replicate the achievements of the Space Shuttle program. NASA cannot be replaced by entrepreneurial ventures with no track record.
Space exploration is a worthy goal for our country to pursue. In the past fifty years, we have achieved amazing technological advances and been able to inspire decades of young school children with the NASA program.
Today, the program is literally earth bound and playing a diplomatic game of Muslim outreach. The diplomacy should be left to the State Department and the climate research should be the domain of the earth scientists.
NASA should be focused on the heavens above and exploring the last frontier, space.
Hopefully, the space program can be revived in January of 2013 when a new president will occupy the White House and restore the dreams of American children and the livelihood of thousands of NASA employees who are now looking for work in this horrible Obama economy.
Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at www.ringsidepolitics.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times