Obama's new budget request would kill NASA's Constellation program created under George W. Bush to put an American back on the moon by 2020. Obama reportedly wants to encourage private companies to take the lead in launching astronauts into space. Is this a sensible way to make the space program more affordable — or is it the beginning of the end for America's leadership in space exploration? (Watch a report about Obama's proposed cutting of NASA's budget)
This endangers our national security: President Obama's vision for NASA is "incredibly shortsighted," says Douglas MacKinnon in The Orlando Sentinel. Obama is telling NASA to focus on global warming and surrendering space to whoever wants it — but the Chinese understand how crucial satellites are to American national security, and they'll happily step in to take the lead in the space race. China's "military leaders must be laughing with joy" about Obama's decision.
"Congress must show NASA its backbone"
Obama is doing what he has to do: China and India feel they can rush ahead with their "monolithic state-controlled space programs," says Ben Sandilands in Australia's Crikey. But "America can’t afford to go it alone in space anymore" — considering that it already relies on Russia to get astronauts to the International Space Station, asking private companies to do the job isn't even much of a giant leap.
"Yanks see a bad moon a'risin'"
This won't kill manned space flight — it might actually help: Ditching the Constellation program and the Ares rocket doesn't "mean that manned space flight is dead," says Phil Plait in Discover. Private companies are years away from putting people in orbit, but "I strongly suspect they’ll be doing it before [NASA] would’ve been ready to do it anyway." The government space agency has been stuck circling the Earth for 40 years -- maybe it's time to give somebody else a shot.
"Give space a chance"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- A gay Mormon's complicated journey
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why you should really take a nap this afternoon, according to science
- How to flirt, according to science
- Why you shouldn't eat dog. Not even once.
- Incheon: the next white elephant city
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- The biggest lesson Obama failed to learn from Bush
Subscribe to the Week