On July 20, 1969, an audience of 500 million people watched a man set foot on the surface of the moon and plant an American flag in the gray powder of the Sea of Tranquility.
In July 2010, NASA chief Charles Bolden, an Obama appointee, toldAl Jazeera that his boss had given him three priorities… none of them involving space exploration. The foremost priority for the agency once tasked with sending a man to the moon was “to reach out to the Muslim world… to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.”
A small step for one man had become a great step for Muslim-kind.
This week marked the 44th anniversary of the moon landing. Three months earlier, an irritated Bolden had responded to critics of a directionless NASA by saying, “NASA will not take the lead on a human lunar mission. NASA is not going to the Moon.”
It was a neat reversal of Kennedy’s original speech in which he said, “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”
In 2008, Obama’s position paper said that he “endorses the goal of sending human missions to the Moon by 2020.” He lied. In 2010, he announced that returning to the moon was not a worthwhile goal because it “lacked innovation”.
These days we choose harder tasks than going to the moon. It was neat seeing Neil Armstrong take a stroll in the Sea of Tranquility, but that’s child’s play compared to the truly difficult task of making Muslims feel good about their historic contribution of pilfering Algebra from the Hindus.
The Space Shuttle, that final relic of space exploration, was scrapped and the remaining shuttles were passed out as pork to politically connected museums. The replacement Constellation program was also scrapped.
As far back as 2007, Obama had called for delaying the Constellation program, which would have replaced the space shuttles, for five years in order to pay for his education program. He was the only major candidate to do so.
Once he got into office, the delay became a full-fledged cancellation.
Be proud, America. We are exceptional. Not only did we land on the Moon, we did it with full public disclosure all the way. NASA didn’t patent anything…instead, whole new industries and new ways of managing projects were created and shared with the world. (Did you know that ultrasound was developed so the welding on the Saturn V second stage could be inspected?) This is what free Americans do when we get the chance. There has never been a country like this in history. Celebrate it.