I’ve always been a space nut, but Obama’s plan for NASA (John Kerry has already reported for duty) is confusing, flip-floppy and contains no definitive goals or visions other than “we don’t care if Russia or China take the lead in space.”
Obama’s speech yesterday was also the kind of “wrong time, wrong place” thing we’ve come to expect from this administration (a good deal of the people watching Obama’s “Rah-Rah-NASA!” speech are about to lose their jobs because his administration is scrapping the shuttle program).
Possibly the most confusing aspect of Obama on this subject is his lean towards a partial privatization of the space program while simultaneously trying to socialize all things terrestrial (granted it could just be a ploy to get conservatives off the planet). Laws of physics being the same everywhere, why not a uniform policy one way or another? For example, if privatization (i.e. letting capitalism do its thing) is a good dea for space exploration as it will achieve goals faster and cheaper, why is it a bad idea when it comes to, say, job creation on terra firma?
In any case, there’s an alleged renewed push to land humans on the moon, and eventually Mars. This means that at some point in the future, perhaps around 2030 or so, retired president Obama may be sitting in a Chicago living room with his grandchildren on his knee, watching an astronaut descend from the landing craft, explaining to the kids that they’re witnessing the culmination of his administration’s dream — and a tear will come to Obama’s eye as “Old Glory” is unfurled on the lunar surface: