Keith Cowing points out that this isn’t really new, but I think he’s missing the point. Yes, this isn’t the first time that NASA has said it is going to do an outreach. What has people upset is that Bolden said it’s one of the agency’s top priorities.
[Update a while later]
Thoughts on the business of government:
The true business of government involves converting limited authority, granted through reason, into a limitless moral imperative. The Founders were very logical men. Both the Constitution and Bill of Rights are tightly reasoned documents. So were the original charters of government agencies which have since swollen to grotesque size. A calm, logical application of Constitutional principle would have prevented this… but when government transforms itself into a moral enterprise, people become willing to let it bypass its restrictions. Thus, NASA began with a clear mission whose success was easily measured – is space travel advancing or not? It ends in a great, gelatinous mass of international outreach and Muslim self-esteem, open-ended projects that will never require less funding in any future year.
Success is punished, failure is rewarded.
[Update a few minutes later]
Thoughts on why the New York Times and others refuse to cover this:
The reason the MSM has the lid on NASA’s new “mission” to snuggle up to Islam (in between decapitations and floggings) is that it would be devastating to Obama if it became known. On the surface, the new NASA “mission” seems merely screwball, and thus a small story. But I think it’s a good deal more than that. It shows that Obama’s thinking is unrecognizable to the average person. It also shows that he’s unserious — frivolous, really — about something that made a generation of Baby Boomers take pride in their country. How many millions of people sat in their junior high auditoriums and watched the Alan Shepherd and John Glenn launches? How many millions more were up at midnight on July 20, 1969 to watch the first human being, an American, put his foot on the moon?
When the domestic roots of skepticism about America (and sometimes flat-out anti-Americanism) were being laid — in the 60’s assassinations, the Vietnam War, and the exposure of the country’s treatment of blacks — the one thing in which we all took pride was the space program. So for Obama, it’s now one thing that needs to be perverted. Making it a dumbed-down PR front for Islam is, in its way, a genius move for this purpose. But as the MSM recognizes by its silence, it’s a bridge too far.
This makes me crazy, though:
Under Obama, NASA has ended plans to go back to the moon, or go to Mars (something also underreported). Budgets are tight, you know. Time to hunker down and lower our sights. But we can do Muslim outreach.
There were never any serious plans to go back to the moon to end, let alone Mars. The only plan was to keep Marshall and Kennedy busy building big, unnecessary rockets. Work on the (unneeded) heavy lifter wasn’t going to start for years, and work on the necessary earth departure stage and lander wasn’t going to start for year after that. Constellation wasn’t going to get us back to the moon — it was going to collapse of its own fiscal weight at some point. It was better that it happen now than before we sunk too much more money down that rat hole. We have much better prospects for a lunar return now than we did with Constellation, and not just for a few NASA civil servants, but for private adventurers and wealth seekers, even if there isn’t a Glorious Fifteen-Year Plan to do it. Apollo is, finally, over.