Hitch a Ride with the Next Russian Supply Ship

The National Aeronautic
Self-Esteem Administration

Speaking to al-Jazeera on a recent trip to the Middle East, National Aeronautics and Space Administration head Charles Bolden heralded a new age in international space relations:

When I became the NASA Administrator . . . [Obama] charged me with three things: One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, [second,] he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.

Bolden also said that in the past, NASA had worked with countries that were capable of space exploration, but now Obama has

asked NASA to change . . . by reaching out to "nontraditional" partners and strengthening our cooperation in the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia and in particular in Muslim-majority nations.

So we won't be restricted by the need to work with countries that actually can explore space, but can expand to those that can't.

I applaud this escape from hidebound tradition. It's not the Muslim countries' fault they aren't capable of space exploration, and it's time to end the pale male hegemony. If we ever need a landing strip again, we may need one of these countries to provide it. Even if we don't, what's more important: our space program, or helping predominantly Muslim nations feel good about their accomplishments many centuries ago? Also, the diplomatic mission is bound to be cheaper, and it will get NASA out of the way while the private sector knuckles down.

No comments: