Thursday, July 18

NASA’s Charles Bolden and - Is the Space Program only for Liberals?


by Mark A. Cohen

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Charles Bolden, the current Administrator of NASA.
Charles Bolden, the current Administrator of NASA.


A friend recently pointed out to me that my support for the U.S. space program goes against my conservative beliefs. I never thought of it that way, but is he right? He said that as a person on the right I should support a tiny or even a non-existent space program – smaller government. When it comes to NASA, I’m for a larger federal agency. Like my friend, some might say that makes me a liberal in this sense. What’s going on?




Charles Bolden was a shuttle astronaut from 1986 to 1994.
Charles Bolden was a shuttle astronaut from 1986 to 1994.


When NASA administrator Charles Bolden was to appear on CSPAN’s Q&A program (with Brian Lamb), I got excited, and set the DVR to record. Bolden, a former Space Shuttle astronaut, spoke about the Challenger accident and how it affected him. He told us about his mission to deploy the Hubble telescope, the current missions with Soyuz astronauts, and the future of space travel with commercial companies. I don’t agree with the current NASA policy set forth by both the Bush and Obama administrations (retire the shuttle and don’t pay to replace it). Even though I also disagree with NASA’s plunge into the issue of global warming, I lament that its budgets will continue to be small until leadership in the White House changes policy.




Charles Bolden on CSPAN’s Q+A program
Charles Bolden on CSPAN’s Q+A program


Why am I so fascinated with space and record hours of NASA-TV? Perhaps it’s the age-old quest to learn who we are, where we came from, and why we are here. I want to know for a fact whether mankind is alone in the universe, or are there other civilizations? Maybe it’s a carry-over from my childhood, as I viewed every Gemini and Apollo launch on TV and kept a scrap book of space-related newspaper clippings. The U.S. space agency, alone, carried out the bold will of President Kennedy, the adventurous quest to land a man the moon, and return him safely to the earth. The U.S. government has spent relatively little since it created NASA, less than the 2008 bank bailout, in fact, approximately $526 billion. Not a bad return.




 The NASA logo and Administrator Bolden.
The NASA logo and Administrator Bolden.


The human species has gained so much from the space program of the 60’s and 70’s. The micro-miniaturization of everything to make payloads smaller gave us the gift of microwaves and smaller and faster computer chips. I cite other examples in a previous post. We’ll learn so much more. NASA contributes to our scientific knowledge base and increases our standard of living and in the end makes us better people. It’s well worth the expense.




Bolden, making a point.
Bolden, making a point.


Charles Bolden, a former Marine, flew on the space shuttle mission – his first - just prior to the Challenger explosion. He described the elation of his flight – and then how his joy turned to sorrow. The Q+A program went by way too quickly, and I wound up wishing he had a second hour. Yes, conservatives can love science, and the space program, too.




PAST NASA POSTS:



From the Left to the Right - NASA Post #1, 5/17/11



From the Left to the Right - NASA Post #2, 7/12/11



From the Left to the Right - NASA Post #3, 6/5/13



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From the Left to the Right - Agenda 21 Post #1, 2/28/12



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From the Left to the Right - Agenda 21 Post #3, 4/17/12



From the Left to the Right - Agenda 21 Post #4, 7/10/12



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From the Left to the Right - Agenda 21 Post #6, 12/04/12



From the Left to the Right - Agenda 21 Post #7, 01/08/12



From the Left to the Right - Agenda 21 Post #8, 06/12/13



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From the Left to the Right - Agenda 21 Post #10, 06/26/13



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Keywords: Conservatism, Conservative blog, Mark A. Cohen, From the Left to the Right, Charles Bolden, NASA, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA Administrator



Keywords: "Conservatism", "Conservative blog", "Mark A. Cohen", "From The Left to the Right", “Charles Bolden”, “NASA”, “National Aeronautics and Space Administration”, “NASA Administrator”



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