The National Space Society has done great work in the realms of space science outreach and project funding, and to be honest, I’m behind any non-profit that whips up enthusiasm and furthers mankind’s efforts in space. They are outspoken critics of space policy and NASA, which is usually pretty fair.
However, the NSS blog has dropped a few clangers of late, making me question whether they are on the right track.
Previously on the NSS blog, described in a misguided (yet well-made and undoubtedly enthusiastic) video, that by magically revisiting the Apollo era, the US can begin re-industrializing and build rockets. What happens then? A million jobs are created! Wow, why didn’t the NSS think of this years ago? Actually, as Greg Fish points out of Weird Things, snazzy videos and a triumphant call for factories to build stuff is a little naive at best.
Then there was the case of the publication of the draft Unified Space Vision headed by Buzz Aldrin that was picked up by New Scientist, only for the post to be hastily pulled from the NSS blog when it started to get all the wrong kinds of press (the draft letter was here, but now it’s not).
And today? Well, read this, a bizarre take from Karen Shea:
Assume that President Obama doesn’t care about NASA. When there was a talk of a missile gap [during the Cold War] NASA was important to show our technical prowess in a non-threatening way. NASA hasn’t been important to the President since. Presidents want NASA to demonstrate America’s technological leadership and not kill any one, that seems to be about it.
It is time for NASA to grow up and take responsibility for its self and its accomplishments, and do so within a flat budget. Don’t expect to see Apollo level funding again. Don’t expect a President with 2 wars going on, a third one possibly on the horizon, the worst economic crisis in the last 80 years, and a health care crisis to worry about NASA.
Barrak [sic] Obama put NASA in the able hands of Charlie Bolden and Lori Garver so he wouldn’t have to care about NASA and could simply make speeches about the wonderful things NASA is accomplishing during his administration.
Yey! Go US spaceflight! Woohoo! Doesn’t that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?
It’s one thing to criticise NASA and US space policy, but this is incredibly defeatist for an organization that should be working harder to promote the importance and shape the future of NASA science. Come on NSS! I’d happily see more enthusiastic videos about how a new spaceflight industry will save the economy (even if it’s unrealistic) rather than read someone’s depressing, and frankly limited, opinion that Barack Obama (note the correct spelling) doesn’t give a toss about NASA.
[ UPDATE: The site has now been updated with the correct spelling of the President’s name, but here’s the original post (thanks to Keith at NASAWatch and SpaceRef.com) ]
This blog post was picked up by NASAWatch.com, and Keith Cowling makes an interesting observation:
Ouch, this is rather gloomy and depressing talk from the National Space Society’s official blog given that two of its former Executive Directors are at NASA – one being Deputy Adminstrator and the other being Chief of Staff – and hold opposite, hopeful views of what lies ahead for NASA. It is also odd that the webmaster of this blog does not even bother to spell the President’s name correctly.
NASA is an easy target for critics, and the agency certainly has its problems, but I think this is a surprising cheap shot from a blog of the biggest US space advocacy non-profits.
I’d have a read of the blog ASAP, it might vanish soon…