February 4, 2010 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - With millions of eyes glued to television sets all over the world, viewers were stunned into silence when at approximately 9:00 EST on the morning of February 1, 2003, during the always critical re-entry phase of the flight, the shuttle Columbia came apart in the upper atmosphere for reasons largely still unknown [the role of solar flares are strongly suspected] resulting in the loss of the entire crew and the grounding of the space fleet.
So it was surprising then that Mr. Obama took the occasion of the seventh anniversary of that shuttle disaster to announce his decision to kill the single lasting testament of the JFK administration, the lunar manned space flight program.
Curiously, for the anti-capitalist Obama, at the time of the announcement - perhaps to provide plausible deniability - he suggested that manned space should instead become the purview of private enterprise, stranger still when considering that by killing the U.S. program much of the newest hardware [specifically, the Ares missile and Orion crew capsule] would die with it, pulling the rug out from the primary mechanism whereby space travel might become more appealing
When asked to comment about the decision "Bizarre," is the term Michael Griffin, a physicist and former NASA Administrator used to describe it adding, "for the U.S. government to deliberately give up its lead in something which is fundamentally an enterprise of governments ... for the United States to give up something that's an important part of our national identity in favor of outsourcing it to commercial enterprises when and as they come into being is bizarre."
Demonstrating a grand vision sorely lacking in Obama's frigid collectivist mechanistics, in 2004 testimony to Congress Griffin stated, "for me the single overarching goal of human space flight is the human settlement of the solar system, and eventually beyond. I can think of no lesser purpose sufficient to justify the difficulty of the enterprise, and no greater purpose is possible."
For this administration, so wrapped up in "democratizing" the economy through federal confiscation, to reject a government role in space travel - perhaps one of the few areas of enterprise in which a government/private partnership can thrive - the decision to so cavalierly kill the soul of the space program demonstrates the intellectual wasteland from which it emanates.
Compounding the shortsightedness of this move - announcing it on the anniversary of the Columbia disaster - is simply additional evidence that for all of the purported wisdom housed within this administration, in the non-pretend world, it has far less grasp of the "vision thing," than even the originator of that odd locution, GHW Bush.
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