“Decolonizing” Space?

I don’t know whether Barack Obama is an anticolonialist or not, but it’s quite ignorant to think that this would be an explanation for ending Constellation, which was not an “ambitious” project. An ambitious project would have been one to make it possible for us to actually colonize the moon, not redo Apollo. NASA is not being “converted” to improving Muslim self esteem, and anyone who actually understands the new policy knows that, but very few people seem to.

12 thoughts on ““Decolonizing” Space?”

  1. My thinking is that Obama doesn’t much care either way. The whole space thing has very little to do with his own internal world view so he is going with what we can afford. The fact that his policy is actually right is just a coincidence.

  2. History has milestones. Neil and Buzz established one. The next one will be birth in space or another world. Other things fade into the background.

    Why would any president have much interest in space? It’s a step too far to imagine the eventual impact it will have on human society. Progress is made on the fringe by people unsung.

    Imagine average people making a life in the solar system. The kind of people Mike Rowe visits on his dirty jobs show. People that will be mostly self sufficient by trading with others like themselves. That trade is going to be slow motion. Most people on the coast can’t imagine spending six months at home snowed in like many in the midwest live. Many of those same type of people will find themselves living in space. Ranchers, selling thousands of cattle and their land, their entire worth, to migrate from rock to rock in space with others of like mind. Their kids home schooled until they get married and have a spaceship of their own (a wedding present built ISRU like a barn raising.)

    Why? Because they can get away from Obama and his ilk. No more taxes. Nobody telling them how to live. That is a bit anti-colonial. The difference being they aren’t trying to establish a separate government, they want no government because it isn’t needed among like minded adults.

    Obama can’t deal with adults. He needs to rally his kids and use them to intimidate those that don’t go along. His dream is a nightmare.

  3. For myself, I subscribe to the philosophy that NASA was so screwed up that almost any change that the Obama Administration was to make would have been an improvement over what happened earlier. He likely won’t be President in two years (although miracles can happen) and certainly won’t be President when it will be appropriate for America to be a genuine colonial power in space.

    The key is to see just how much “liberty” is going to be granted to private efforts when there will be capabilities to travel to asteroids and other planets. Will a future presidential administration put such efforts in bureaucratic hell, order the military to shoot down any spacecraft that leave LEO, or are we going to have CNN reporting live on Mars to show the arrival of the first NASA astronauts going to that planet? If the current attitude in the FAA-AST is allowed to continue, which the Obama administration seems to be simply ignoring as an agency, it seems like private efforts are going to do what is necessary to get to other places and do that “colonization”.

    It was private efforts that colonized America, not something organized by a government agency. I expect to see something like the Plymouth Colony on the Moon rather than a government effort like Hong Kong whose footprint was clearly to subjugate a foreign power.

  4. rather than a government effort like Hong Kong whose footprint was clearly to subjugate a foreign power – Robert

    Ironic. Because Hong Kong developed in to one of the freest markets in existence – it was almost a controlled experiment in Chicago school economics. HK government agencies had far less entanglement in the business of average Honkies than lands elsewhere.

    Hong Kong has ranked as the world’s freest economy in the Wall Street Journal and Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom for 16 consecutive years, since the inception of the index in 1995


  5. With regards to NASA, I think Obama is doing something right for once. However, I don’t think his actions are driven by any anti-colonialist agenda. I Think D’souza is way off base here (talk about a guy that make Obama look sterling by comparison). I agree with Chris L. here that Obama simply does not care one way or another about space and probably views NASA as nothing more than a jobs program for over-educated white guys, which is correct by the way. The fact that his policy is correct in pure coincidence, but one that I applaud nonetheless.

  6. D’souza is just looking for anything that will support his most recent theme about Obama. It is good that people are taking a closer look at Obama, whether or not you agree or disagree with the anti-colonialism theme.

    Wondering what Obama’s outreach to Muslim countries or China will consist of is legitimate and people have the right examine the situation.

    Using NASA as a tool for international relations is a good idea as long as it doesn’t detract from NASA’s domestic mission. I really don’t think what is going on is very transparent and there is some dishonesty when it comes to whether or not Bolden is acting on his own or under orders.

    Obama should defend his policy instead or deny its existence.

  7. Obama wanted to direct NASA toward Mars.

    Mars is so ambitious of a target that what got back to him was that nothing substantial could be done in the near term.

    He cannot task NASA with an Apollo like scheme to Mars, because it will just be cancelled by the next guy, just like he didn’t much care for the Moon and sought to direct things toward what he wanted. He can only preside over the course of his presidential term.

    So, all Obama could do was direct efforts toward enacting solutions to near term NASA needs, like commercial crew for ISS crew access, and direct efforts toward a strategy, foundational technology research for Mars missions, that would make it easier for a future plan to go to Mars. And direct NASA toward a long term road to Mars via the Augustine commission flexible path. NEO being on the road to Mars.

    Obama’s NASA direction was to leave NASA in a better shape according to that than what he found it in. To seek foundational improvement over the course of his presiding term. That’s it. It is not hostility toward NASA, it is not a direction to colonize the moon or Mars, or pursue someone’s pet cause, which is the only thing that would satisfy deluded space nuts that Obama cares about space.

    People bring their own antipathy toward Obama from other areas and do not and will not give his policy any due consideration.

  8. I think D’Souza’s thesis is probably valid. Obama clearly has antipathy towards America, Western civilization, capitalism, and white people in general. His every policy seems intended to “take America down a peg” and redistribute wealth away from those who he believes acquired it illicitly by exploiting the poor and people of color. In other words, standard-issue leftism. It’s not even particularly original.

    That said, the Christian Science Monitor article goes off the rails in extrapolating his anticolonialism to his space policy. I agree with what Rand said several months ago. Obama doesn’t give a damn about space or Mars, and that’s the only reason why his space policy has any good in it. If he did care, he’d likely come up with some godawful command-and-control government-centered policy. It’s a case of a blind squirrel finding a nut.

    Here’s the funny part: It may be that in his mind, canceling Constellation furthers his goal of weakening and neutering America. That would put him in agreement with the many conservatives who have a knee-jerk negative reaction to his policy simply because it’s his policy. Politics makes strange bedfellows, after all.

  9. “He cannot task NASA with an Apollo like scheme to Mars, because it will just be cancelled by the next guy, just like he didn’t much care for the Moon and sought to direct things toward what he wanted. He can only preside over the course of his presidential term.”

    This is why having a series of technological stepping stones is so important politically. Done right, a series of accomplishments occurs with regularity, allowing current elected officials vote fodder in the very next election.

    Time them out so that results start coming in just a few months before an election. Politicians eat that up.

    It also dovetails nicely with practical ideas for massive expansion of humanity into the rest of the solar system.

  10. because it will just be cancelled by the next guy

    It’s not so easy to cancel something. Modifying it is what usually happens. You can get the ball rolling but only those that follow will see if any of the pins drop.

  11. Constellation had regular milestones.. they just didn’t hit any of them. After the 3rd redesign of Ares I they really should have cancelled it and went back to the ESAS stage to figure out what they could do instead.

    On the other hand, Orion hit all its milestones but is universally despised because it was given so much leeway that it would be impossible for them not to hit those milestones.

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