WH defends Bolden remarks on NASA

posted at 4:25 pm on July 6, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

After NASA Administrator Charles Bolden got blasted for revealing the three objectives tasked for him by Barack Obama, the White House has decided to fight back — by basically claiming that Bolden misspoke.  Jake Tapper reports from the White House that the Obama administration now claims that the mission will still be to “push the boundaries of exploration”:

NASA assistant administrator for public affairs Bob Jacobs told ABC News that “Administrator Bolden understands that NASA’s core mission is exploration, both in space and in scientific endeavors here at home.  Inherent to the success of that mission is cooperation and collaboration with other nations which are equally committed to this effort, including expanding the range of countries with which NASA engages and partners.”

In response to criticism, White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said in a statement that “The President has always said that he wants NASA to engage with the world’s best scientists and engineers as we work together to push the boundaries of exploration.  Meeting that mandate requires NASA to partner with countries around the world like Russia and Japan, as well as collaboration with Israel and with many Muslim-majority countries.  The space race began as a global competition, but, today, it is a global collaboration.”

Let’s recall that this is the same administration that has canceled the Moon base as a project, as well as the craft that was supposed to replace the aging Space Shuttles.  They have not officially announced a new replacement, and in terms of “push[ing] boundaries of exploration,” have only hinted that a mission to Mars will be the next goal for manned space flight.  As yet, however, we’re not even anticipating new technology to get us back and forth from the International Space Station, but will have to rely on the Russians in the near term instead.

The problem seems less to be the people who reacted to Bolden than what Bolden himself said:

When I became the NASA Administrator — before I became the NASA Administrator — [Obama] charged me with three things: One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, 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, math, and engineering.

As I wrote yesterday, none of these three objectives deal directly with space at all.  Not one of them.  Most of the commentary focused on the outreach to Muslim nations (as I predicted), but the actual problem is that Barack Obama gave these self-esteem exercises as the primary objectives he has in mind for NASA to his appointee to run NASA.  The warm and fuzzy feelings should come as a side benefit from actual, achievable, challenging goals of space exploration, not the other way around — or just the warm-and-fuzzies as an end to themselves.

That’s exactly what Bolden said.  If the White House has a problem with that, they should be discussing it with Bolden instead of griping that people paid attention to it.  And if all they can do about setting goals that really do “push the boundaries of exploration” is to claim that they have that in mind while giving much more clear objectives that have to do with self-esteem exercises — which seems to be the situation — then we should demand some changes at NASA and in the administration.  If a NASA administrator and a White House can talk at length about everything but space in our space program, then NASA has run off the rails.


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Oh; so who knew that Alahu Akbar really meant “Fly me to the moon and let me sing among the stars…?”

karl9000 on July 6, 2010 at 6:05 PM

Interesting.

So how exactly are Muslim nations contributing to “progress???”

I didnt realize the thriving space exploration was scientific priority #1 in Muslim nations.

I always thought indoor plumbing was.

Odie1941 on July 6, 2010 at 6:06 PM

A joint US/Waziristan space program is well overdue.

nico on July 6, 2010 at 6:06 PM

Went to Kennedy Space Center this spring. Came away so depressed. Couldn’t sense any energy in the place at all. Nothing but blather about old glories. Rusting and ill kept equipment and facilities.
Nothing about about the future. 0 optimism!

chickasaw42 on July 6, 2010 at 6:42 PM

Just look at this marvelous new Islamic invention! If the Muslims will deign to let us work with them, the future is bright!.

BL@KBIRD on July 6, 2010 at 6:44 PM

Let’s recall that this is the same administration that has canceled the Moon base as a project, as well as the craft that was supposed to replace the aging Space Shuttles. They have not officially announced a new replacement, and in terms of “push[ing] boundaries of exploration,” have only hinted that a mission to Mars will be the next goal for manned space flight.

The way you know their “Mission to Mars” statement is bogus is by understanding the long-term purpose of the Constellation and moon-base programs they cancelled: the Constellation program was intended to be a 21st-Century Apollo program, or the creation of a rocket that would get us back to the moon (and further) using technology that did not exist in the 60s and 70s. Once such travel had been perfected, this rocket was to be used to transport and build a base on the moon. From the moon base, we would then test-launch rockets further into space until we developed the technology to launch a Mars landing from the moon.

Or at least this is how it was described to me by a NASA engineer. Obviously, both intended programs had other purposes as well, but a mission to Mars was part of that. For the Obama administration to suggest that we can still plan a manned Mars mission while gutting the programs that would make it possible is nothing but a bold-faced lie. They have no intention of going to Mars, and are just trying to placate their critics with the usual empty promises.

Alas, even if we wanted to move forward with these programs after Obama is out of office, I fear we’ll be in such terrible debt that it will be impossible. The era of American space exploration is over, along with the dreams of several generations. What a terrible affront to Kennedy’s legacy Obama is.

Animator Girl on July 6, 2010 at 6:48 PM

Everybody is so critical of Obama but I think that is just to cover up the glorious fact that one only has to go back four or five hundred years to find major scientific writing in the Muslim world. They make the Greeks look ancient.

snaggletoothie on July 6, 2010 at 6:51 PM

My question is where in the hell is John Glenn in all of this?

If there is anyone who knows what the real mission of NASA is and will vigorously defend that mission to the death, it is John Glenn!

And yet, so far, since this idiocy of Obama’s was announced, there has been nothing but silence from John Glenn or any member of his family.

Why?

pilamaye on July 6, 2010 at 6:59 PM

… What a terrible affront to Kennedy’s America’s legacy Obama is.

Animator Girl on July 6, 2010 at 6:48 PM

fify

lukespapa on July 6, 2010 at 7:06 PM

I wonder, does NASA have a similar outreach program for Christians, Jews, Buddhists? Why not?

Do Muslims even know how to spell space?

tarpon on July 6, 2010 at 7:09 PM

NASA’s job isnt to educate one group of people. Muslims can pick up a book like anyone else.

johnnyU on July 6, 2010 at 7:10 PM

“The President has always said that he wants NASA to engage with the world’s best scientists and engineers as we work together to push the boundaries of exploration.

Americans were and are the world’s best scientists.
In NASA too.
Is Hussain now saying that we are not the best ?
Is this his attempt at Zakat ?

macncheez on July 6, 2010 at 7:12 PM

Dear Mr. President:

While we understand that your mind has been wrapped up in the probe of Uranus, perhaps you can return to Earth and focus on government acronyms. “NASA” stands for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration”, not “National Advancement of the Sharia Agenda”.

Please make a note of it.

If outreach is the goal, NASA does have a few rockets capable of outreach across the world. As Iran wants to share in nuclear knowledge, by all means fel free to use NASA in delivering some of that “technology”.

Jim M. on July 6, 2010 at 7:23 PM

Perhaps Muslims invented Tang out of camel urine back in the 60′s. Maybe that was their contribution.

BL@KBIRD on July 6, 2010 at 7:24 PM

Pushing boundaries of tolerance of the subjects.

antisocial on July 6, 2010 at 7:26 PM

I have a problem with this BS PC outreach. I don’t have a problem scrapping missions to the Moon and Mars. Until someone figures out how to make Mars have a magnetic core (and good luck with that) Mars will never be inhabited by humans.

No alien from outer space ever came here or will ever come here. And no human is ever going to visit a planet outside of Mars. It’s just too far. Get used to it. Weaponize and commercialize space -yes. Gov’t funded manned boondoggle space missions-No.

Lou Budvis on July 6, 2010 at 7:30 PM

Sharia law on the moon. That’s what they’d do with a space program.

nico on July 6, 2010 at 7:34 PM

Not right.

justltl on July 6, 2010 at 7:45 PM

pilamaye on July 6, 2010 at 6:59 PM

John Glenn? Dude, get a clue. John Glenn long ago went full blown dingbat leftist. If it would help a Democrat President, he would declare that “space exploration sucks”.

Really Right on July 6, 2010 at 7:46 PM

Of course there’s a connection between NASA and Muslims.

Both are space programs-one for astronauts and the other for spaced out murdering psychopaths.

Both the surface of the moon and the Muslim religious and moral philosophy are barren, desolate and full of craters.

RPGs and space shuttles both involve the use of rocketry.

Flying unmanned rockets to Mars to study scientific data and driving aircraft, driven by Muslim madmen, into the World Trade Center both involve striking a larger stationary target with moving projectiles.

Both space and the credibility of Muslim Imams is lighter than air.

MaiDee on July 6, 2010 at 9:19 PM

Animator Girl on July 6, 2010 at 6:48 PM
. . . For the Obama administration to suggest that we can still plan a manned Mars mission while gutting the programs that would make it possible is nothing but a bold-faced lie. They have no intention of going to Mars, and are just trying to placate their critics with the usual empty promises.

Exactly right. Obambi’s handlers have no interest in space exploration, or in anything that does not contribute to their plans for burying the United States and ultimately all of mankind in a grey, Marxist dystopia of ‘world governance’. They just had the Obambi puppet mouth a few soothing words to placate those annoying remnants of Reagan’s shining city, who still see the future of mankind in the stars.

MrLynn on July 6, 2010 at 11:56 PM

Sharia law resembles the current obama administration where the pressure to conform and abdicate your freedom is a common occurrence and where populist ideas like the tea party movement are attacked and punished.

AltTuning on July 7, 2010 at 2:26 AM

Animator Girl on July 6, 2010 at 6:48 PM

and to add to that, now that the plans were drafted, the competing contries have probably stolen them and will develope our advanced hardware before we do.

johnnyU on July 7, 2010 at 9:06 AM

We’re being mooned.

TimBuk3 on July 7, 2010 at 9:17 AM

National Aeronautics and Sharia Administration ??

Bootleghooch on July 7, 2010 at 9:20 AM

I was a huge supporter of NASA for my entire life. Now, I want them to just shut it down. Be honest about it. Pass a couple of laws limiting the liability of private ventures into space, and let the people do it right.

NASA is an absolutely humiliating disaster of a program now. It is a shameful shell of its former self.

WashingtonsWake on July 7, 2010 at 9:27 AM

This isn’t the first time Bolden has talked about NASA’s new goal to focus on Muslim outreach, he said the same thing back in February. If he’s mistaken, you’d think Obama would have corrected him back then.

“NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden said Tuesday that President Barack Obama has asked him to “find ways to reach out to dominantly Muslim countries” as the White House pushes the space agency to become a tool of international diplomacy.”
http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_space_thewritestuff/2010/02/nasa-plans-more-outreach-to-muslim-countries.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:%20news/space/space_blog%20(Space%20Blog%20The%20Write%20Stuff)

mbs on July 7, 2010 at 9:57 AM

NASA just launched an online video game, Moonbase Alpha, that allows gamers to pretend they are part of an exploration team on a lunar base. I guess that’s the closest we’re going to get to a space program under the current regime. here’s a link to the press release:

http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2010/jul/10-148_Moonbase_Alpha.html

i wonder if the game allows for the moon, along with the moonbase, to be launched in to deep space because of massive nuclear explosions?

Numbuh One on July 7, 2010 at 10:22 AM

And Obamalinsky ain’t a Muslim??? That Youtube clip where the reporter corrects(Muslim/Christian faith) him is priceless….Go back to Kenya, Obamakov, Mombassa is missing their idiot…..

adamsmith on July 7, 2010 at 10:29 AM

How is this mission statement not a violation of the establishment clause? I thought the separation of Church and State was to be with a wall that is high and impregnable?

Chubbs65 on July 7, 2010 at 11:26 AM

And here they are.

Each and every one a veritable cornucopia of new and fresh ideas.

BobMbx on July 7, 2010 at 1:08 PM

“… 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.”

Next in a cultural “RESET” with the Russians .. Obama will cede that in fact the Russians invented Breakdance

J_Crater on July 7, 2010 at 4:05 PM

OK.This cinches it.
Will someone PLEASE find the Stargate so I can gate the hell out of here?!

Badger40 on July 7, 2010 at 7:26 PM

And here they are.

Each and every one a veritable cornucopia of new and fresh ideas.

BobMbx on July 7, 2010 at 1:08 PM

The armpits of the world!
Tons of refreshing, innovative ideas always come from non-industrialzed nations where the populations are illiterate!

Badger40 on July 7, 2010 at 7:27 PM

and today we watch the LAST Shuttle Tank roll off the line. Why not reverse these decisions like we reversed the Hubble servicing decision? hmmm? HOw about it Senator Maculski? Lets keep Shuttle up until we have something that works. Would you trade your car in after using it to only 30% of its life expectancy?

johnnyU on July 8, 2010 at 1:10 PM

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