The NASA Budget Showdown is Mistakenly Being Seen as Only a Job Killing Problem

               1The debate in Congress is being boiled down to the loss of 1,500 space shuttle workers jobs rather than what the slow dismantling of NASA will mean to us as a Nation long term.  Earlier this year the media ran a short news cycle on NASA Administrator Charles’s Bolden’s comments that “…that one of NASA’s main tasks was to reach out to the Muslim world and help Muslims feel good about their historical contributions to science.” HUH?  I thought we were supposed to go into outer space, not be the ambassador of good will to Iran and other Western friendly nations.  Bolden did not make this up on his own, it is this Administration’s policy.  This short news cycle firestorm is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the dismantling of NASA and probably our other science labs as Livermore and Los Alamos.  The 2011 NASA budget has as two of its goals “green transportation” and “Climate Change” monitoring.  What better way to control carbon emissions than through space monitoring.  Beats the heck out of a Legal Warrant…  While the loss of jobs is an unfortunate side effect of the emasculation of NASA, the real tragedy is the emasculation of NASA and the politicization of our science labs.

Will NASA exist in 50 more years?

               Unfortunately this whole NASA fiasco smacks of another way to eliminate our dominance in a field that we have generously funded and shared with the rest of the world.  Ever ask yourself why this administration spouts off on the need to create a better educational system so we can produce more engineers and scientist when at the same time redirects our leading scientific facilities to make Muslims feel good about themselves?  IF that is your goal, buy them a copy of a Dr. Spock book from the 1970’s.  What are the new scientists and engineers going to do, invent another CFL light bulb that will spread mercury poison throughout your house if you break one and your air conditioner is running? 

Our Scientific Heritage:

               This nation was fortunate to have had scientists and great thinkers such as George Washington Carver who revolutionized much of our agriculture; Dr. Daniel Hale Williams who performed the first open heart surgery, in 1893; Percy L. Julian who was the first to perfect the synthesizing of cortisone leading to many medical advanced treatments; Benjamin Bradley invented steam engines for war ships back in the 1840’s; Lewis Howard Latimer invented an electric lamp with a carbon filament in 1881; Granville T. Woods who invented a telegraph technology that allowed trains to communicate with other trains and stations while moving;  Mark Dean who developed the computer ISA bus technology for IBM that allows computer components to talk to each other.  And these are just of few of our BLACK scientists and inventors, many of whom were slaves and self taught but managed their drive to greatness on their own.  Other white science greats like Edison, Oppenheimer, Edward Teller, and many others also helped create the lifestyle we enjoy today.  Many of these great men and women worked on their own or were allowed to think and create in pure science environments.  While we revere science as something that is predictable, measureable, and controllable, most great strides were created through a lot of trial and error.  We need to make sure we re-establish our national labs so they are not subject to the political whims of politicians who have never created anything on their own besides waste and deficits.  Politicians take the credit for everything good but if something goes wrong, they are quick to point the finger… 

We need to let NASA be NASA and out us back on a track that we can once again be proud of.  For those of us who are “mature”, do you remember the pit in your stomach when you heard that Russia beat us into space with Sputnik in 1957; or how motivated you felt when JFK challenged us to get into space; or the total feeling of elation and pride when we actually landed and walked on the moon.  We need to get those feelings back and move our culture and our nation “back to the future” for the next generations. 

RD Pierini

1Reuters, “NASA showdown looms as shuttle workers face layoffs”, By Irene Klotz

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida | Mon Sep 27, 2010 7:42pm EDT

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