Charles Krauthammer writes:
By the end of this year, there will be no shuttle, no U.S. manned space program, no way for us to get into space. We're not talking about Mars or the moon here. We're talking about low-Earth orbit, which the U.S. has dominated for nearly half a century and from which it is now retiring with nary a whimper.
Our absence from low-Earth orbit was meant to last a few years, the interval between the retirement of the fatally fragile space shuttle and its replacement with the Constellation program (Ares booster, Orion capsule, Altair lunar lander) to take astronauts more cheaply and safely back to space.
But the Obama 2011 budget kills Constellation. Instead, we shall have nothing. For the first time since John Glenn flew in 1962, the U.S. will have no access of its own for humans into space -- and no prospect of getting there in the foreseeable future.
The O-spin is that this will be a boost to the private space industry. I kind of doubt the private space industry will be able to fill the gap. But I guess we'll see.
Possibly this year's science fair winner will grow up to join NASA, where he or she will endeavor to catch up with China's space program. So maybe Obama is just challenging our youths to excel.
But reading the above, what struck me was that quite possibly NASA's own James "AGW Jim" Hansen had a hand in his colleagues being handed pink slips. After all, isn't the specter of cap-n-trade a drag on this recovery? Even if the House bill fails, the EPA is in the wings threatening to save us. Sure we'll be bled dry in the process, but you can't make an omelet without nationalizing some eggs.
So here's Hansen, saying, no, sorry, I don't have a cardboard box to help you clean out your desk, and watching as even Phil Jones of CRU backpedals:
* Data for vital 'hockey stick graph' has gone missing
* There has been no global warming since 1995
* Warming periods have happened before - but NOT due to man-made changes
NASA is being squeezed to help ease a huge deficit, but Hansen is still useful, so he'll be safe for a long while. The only threat to his job would be if he reexamined the science and toned down his Cap and Trade cheerleading. But there's little chance of that. Hansen is a scientist (damit) and everyone knows that the scientific method demands making up your mind (the time for debate is over) and holding on to that belief like a bulldog.
I'd rather see an emphasis on recovery as weapon against debt but that's not going to happen until voters demand it.