Sunday, June 20, 2010
The Houston Chronicle reported that NASA was "telling major contractors they must curtail work on the Constellation program or they may be in violation of federal spending rules." They are referring to NASA's termination liability clauses, where they are exercising legal rights to make contractors set aside money for closing down programs so they can be replaced with new plans.
But, the question still looms even after a year: What new plans?
Thousands of jobs may be lost in the firestorm of Constellation's demise, and commercial interests won't come close to hiring enough people to cover the shortfall. Many insist NASA is trying to "get around" Congress, who must give approval before Constellation can be officially canceled. Senators in states with the most to lose are in an uproar, with accusations are being flung that only a select few are deciding the future of American manned spaceflight – and the outlook becomes more and more bleak.
Around the same time I was surfing around, reading numerous articles on this new development, I saw in the news that Kesha Rogers just won the Democratic nomination in the 22nd Congressional District of Texas. Her campaign platform?
"Save NASA. Impeach Obama."
Wow. I mean really, wow. It's come to this. I hesitate to criticize anyone for taking a stand on something they feel strongly about – because I feel strongly about NASA being a successful organization too! But it seems like some people need to get themselves a dictionary and learn the legal definition of "impeach."
Far reaching ramifications of losing preeminence in scientific and space arenas would be a huge loss to our country and our culture, but let us not pretend our president is doing anything but responding to the petty squabbles of the public. We may simply have to admit that we don't do the big things anymore; we argue about the details and try to cater to every faction. Is that the fault of the leaders, or the people? OF, FOR and BY... remember our responsibility in all this?
In such a no-win situation, turmoil is inevitable on every front – so it's difficult to take such rhetoric at face value. I like that she supports going to Mars, but painting a Hitler moustache on Obama or accusing any President of "pissing on the legacy of President John F. Kennedy" makes her impossible to take seriously. Remember, there were people in the 1960s who disagreed with Kennedy about the moon race.
Where was she when both Bushes and Clinton were burying the space plan years ago by not planning for the future? All their big talk came to nothing, but why are we surprised? And where is the American public when it comes to supporting astronauts, showing up at launches, tuning into the NASA channel, knowing who is orbiting in the space station, teaching their children about the value of space exploration or supporting space research?
Everyone wants Star Trek life to happen by magic, but few want to admit that we face rough choices getting that reality to appear. Do your part, don't shout loudly about how other people aren’t doing theirs. It's all... OURS to solve.
Posted by PillowNaut at 9:02 AM