Lost in space: NASA chief fighting with Obama
Florida's Orlando Sentinel is reporting that there is at least one major hiccup underway in the Obama transition: getting along with NASA. According to yesterday's report:
NASA Administrator Mike Griffin is not cooperating with President-elect Barack Obama's
transition team, is obstructing its efforts to get information and has
told its leader that she is "not qualified" to judge his rocket program.
The piece also says that Griffin had been "scripting NASA employees and civilian
contractors on what they can tell the transition team and ... warned
aerospace executives not to criticize the agency's moon program"
Griffin is no stranger to controversy. A huge fan of space colonization, Griffin told Congress in 2004 that "the single overarching goal of human space flight is the human settlement of the solar system." Griffin promised not to cut space research in pursuit of his colonization dreams, but just two years later he had slashed NASA's research budget by 25%.
As chief of NASA, Griffin is also in charge of overseeing NASA's role in tackling global warming -- which Griffin isn't sure is really a problem. Last year, Space Daily reported Griffin saying the following:
- "I have no doubt that global -- that a trend of global warming
exists. I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we
must wrestle with. To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the
state of earth's climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate
that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to
make sure that it doesn't change.
First of all, I don't think it's within the power of human beings
to assure that the climate does not change, as millions of years of
history have shown, and second of all, I guess I would ask which human
beings - where and when - are to be accorded the privilege of deciding
that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now
is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that's a rather
arrogant position for people to take."
The future direction of NASA is of special interest on Florida's "Space Coast," where federal space program spending has been a very successful public jobs policy (much like the military in other parts of the South -- call it Space Keynesianism). But that's all at risk when Space Shuttle program wraps up in 2010, taking 7,500 jobs with it.
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