Call me naïve by all means but wouldn’t you rather see the great name of NASA making good headlines, instead of being wrapped up in a tale of he said – she said?
In brief summary, Charles Bolden, NASA Admininstrator, in an interview for Al-Jazeera last month said that President Obama himself had charged NASA with the job of ‘reaching out to the muslim world’.
Subsequently, a spokesperson for the White House confirmed that indeed, President Obama wishes to see the U.S. space agency engaging with “the world's best scientists” and to "partner with countries around the world like Russia and Japan, as well as collaboration with Israel and with many Muslim-majority countries".
However, by Monday this week the tune had changed somewhat with White House spokesman Robert Gibbs categorically stating that “reaching out to Muslims is not the task of NASA’ and that Mr Bolden’s statement was incorrect.
Who said what, to whom, and with whose permission really seems to be a secondary issue here don’t you think? Does it not in fact just paint a sad picture of a space policy in disarray?
NASA, its scientists, researchers and workforce over the years have been responsible for many amazing breakthroughs in space technology and science, much of which benefits the ordinary person on the street in ways that are not even realized. I personally was inspired enough by Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the Moon on 21st July 1969 to stay up all night to see it in Brazil, aged nearly 6!
There is so much more out there in space, and even greater things to yet be discovered – I can only hope that NASA will continue to be a part of it all and return to making world headlines for all the right reasons.