Thursday, April 15, 2010

What Planet is Obama On?

President Obama unveiled his plans for NASA today at the Kennedy Space Center.

Obama is jettisoning President Bush's goal of returning to the Moon by 2020. Instead, Obama wants to orbit Mars by the mid-2030s.

But here is what really struck me:

So today, I’d like to talk about the next chapter in this story. The challenges facing our space program are different, and our imperatives for this program are different, than in decades past. We’re no longer racing against an adversary. We’re no longer competing to achieve a singular goal like reaching the Moon. In fact, what was once a global competition has long since become a global collaboration. But while the measure of our achievements has changed a great deal over the past 50 years, what we do -- or fail to do -- in seeking new frontiers is no less consequential for our future in space and here on Earth.

What planet is Obama is on?

The idea we're no longer racing against an adversary in space is remarkable in its naivete. If Obama thinks China or Russia is without its ambitions in space then it appears he has a large space between his ears. In fact, China & Russia are scheduled to embark on a joint unmanned mission to Mars in August 2010. Perhaps Obama doesn't appreciate the gravity of the situation.

It is also worth noting there is a schism amongst the ranks of Apollo 11. Buzz Aldrin, fresh from his stint on Dancing With The Stars, is an enthusiastic supporter of Obama's plan and was present for the President's remarks. Neil Armstrong, on the other hand, has co-written an open letter criticizing Obama's approach.

All of which makes me wonder what Michael Collins, the third member of the Apollo 11 crew, thinks of President Obama's plans? He's the tiebreaking vote.

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