You know I never really understood Barack Obama. Yeah, it's real easy to complain about a President after he leaves office. And it's really easy for a conservative like myself to harp on about arguably the most liberal President in American history.
But truth be told, I really tried to like Obama. I considered him my president (unlike some people) and wanted him to succeed in the office. I thought he was a smart, well-spoken, and determined leader. Despite being affiliated with the wrong party, I believed he could do good for our country.
Yet time and again I had to shake my head at the choices he made as president. If you're being honest with yourself, even the most devoted Obama supporter couldn't agree with many of the backdoor, rarely publicized decisions he made. Remember, he was big in the Midwest and the Rust Belt, places that have suffered due to shifts in our economy. Places that- the truth is- suffer from unrestrained illegal immigrant labor.
Despite this, few people knew the kind of open door Obama gave to illegals. I doubt many of his supporters would have been happy to see how he violated U.S. law to let more undocumented immigrants in.
Then there's the disaster that was the Iran nuclear deal. Now, we might not want to put this all on Obama's shoulders; John Kerry did play his part. But the truth is: why would any American president give so much away to a nation where "Death to America," is a common refrain? Not to mention the billions he gave as a ransom.
Perhaps most baffling of all was President Obama's treatment of NASA. NASA: the single government entity that just about every American- regardless of their politics- loves. I don't care if you're liberal or conservative, few Americans can think back to that famous footage of Neil Armstrong stepping onto the moon without getting goose bumps. His legendary words are engraved in our memories like few others. You can hear his voice right now just thinking about it, can't you?
The moon landing and other amazing accomplishments by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration are some of the few things that truly unite all Americans. Unless, of course, you're one of those moon landing deniers. If so, you should go read a book or something, because you're an idiot.
Space exploration and the noble goals of NASA have inspired countless Americans and multiple generations. They have shown us how human ingenuity and determination can accomplish just about anything.
Yet, under Obama, NASA was dealt a punch in the face. He took a look at one of our most-cherished institutions and decided it needed an overhaul. So the great and noble goal of exploring space and advancing human society and technology was put on hold, and other priorities were created.
In a far-reaching restatement of goals for the nation’s space agency, NASA administrator Charles Bolden says President Obama has ordered him to pursue three new objectives: to “re-inspire children” to study science and math, to “expand our international relationships,” and to “reach out to the Muslim world.” Of those three goals, Bolden said in a recent interview with al-Jazeera, the mission to reach out to Muslims is “perhaps foremost,” because it will help Islamic nations “feel good” about their scientific accomplishments. (via Gateway Pundit).
Uh, what the hell? NASA is supposed to be exploring space. Why the hell should they be spending resources to "expand our international relationships" and to "reach out to the Muslim world"? How does that get us to Mars, Barry?
Like I said earlier, I never understood Obama's agenda. A United States President should put the needs and interests of the American people first. Time and again Obama proved to be a social justice warrior of the worst kind. When he wasn't apologizing to other countries for our values and beliefs, he was using government agencies to push his radically liberal agenda or to play nice with nations that generally hate us.
It's particularly odd that he wanted to focus on pandering to Muslim nations. Often people have suggested that President Obama is in fact Muslim and not Christian, as he has asserted. I personally don't care. But in an age where conservative Muslims are hostile to the West, and radical Islamic terrorism threatens the entire world, Obama seemed more concerned about the feelings of Muslims than the safety and prosperity of all Americans (including the many non-Muslims in this country).
That's immaterial to this conversation, though. The fact remains that Obama butchered NASA, forcing it to focus on inappropriate issues like monitoring climate change and making Muslims feel good.
What about reaching for the stars? What about pushing our scientists to do the impossible, to prove that the American way is the best way (sorry, but it is) and unlocking new discoveries that can change lives?
In the pursuit of finding safe ways to send humans into space, NASA has either invented or helped invent devices and technology that has improved many areas of society, health, and day-to-day lives. Those include light-emitting diodes (LEDs), artificial limbs, anti-icing systems for planes, safety grooving on highways, improved radial tires, even land mine removal. An impressive list can be found online.
While working out solutions to help astronauts and their vehicles, the geniuses at NASA created technology that has myriad uses. That's only the icing on the cake because: THEY GET TO GO INTO SPACE.
Thankfully we are no longer in the Obama era, and we have a President with enough sense to realize how important NASA's contributions to our country and planet are. Trump understands that for NASA to be at its best, it needs to be exploring space and finding new solutions in the pursuit of traveling through it.
That's why earlier this week he signed National Aeronautics and Space Administration Transition Authorization Act of 2017.
The primary goal of this law is to secure significant funds to the agency, with the ultimate goal of sending humans to Mars.
Quoting from the legislation:
NASA has made measurable progress in the development and testing of the Space Launch System and Orion exploration systems with the near-term objectives of the initial integrated test flight and launch in 2018, a human mission in 2021, and continued missions with an annual cadence in cis-lunar space and eventually to the surface of Mars.
Even though we've put robots on Mars and other heavenly bodies, many experts agree that it's much harder to study a place with a robotic proxy. A person can do things much faster and gather details even a sophisticated machine cannot.
Humans hold a number of advantages over robots. They can make quick decisions in response to changing conditions or new discoveries, rather than waiting for time-delayed instructions from Earth. They are more mobile than current robot explorers: The Apollo 17 astronauts covered more than 22 miles in three days, a distance that has taken the Mars Opportunity rover eight years to match. (via Wired)
Plus putting people on Mars is very cool.
You might argue that it's not necessary for NASA to spearhead this program. Isn't Mars One going to put a permanent settlement on Mars one day? Well, I won't hold my breath on that one.
The real importance of having a United States-led program into outer space is to make sure that we are the ones leading space exploration and eventually settlement. Sure this may sound biased (because it is), but do we want China to establish the first settlements outside of earth? The United States helped establish democratic freedoms that many nations eventually copied (to a certain extent). We are still one of the few nations with a very-hard-to-overturn Bill of Rights, protecting freedoms like speech and religion. Most Western nations have some amount of limitations, even in these areas.
The future of human settlement must be built on those same values. Who knows what kind of society Mars One wants to establish; it could be Marxist for all we know. If we want democracy and personal liberty to survive, we have to be the ones to venture out there and lead the way.
As this new law states:
A national, government-led space program that builds on current science and exploration programs, advances human knowledge and capabilities, and opens the frontier beyond Earth for ourselves, commercial enterprise, and science, and with our international partners, is of critical importance to our national destiny and to a future guided by United States values and freedoms;
Back in JFK's day, he pushed to put a man on the moon, largely thanks to the space race between us and the Soviet Union. At that time we needed to prove to the world that democracy, capitalism, and a nation built on personal liberties was better than cold Communism.
Today we face greater challenges, as modern forms of Socialism aim to erode our national identity and ways of life. We have nut jobs like Kim Jong-Un and other totalitarians oppressing entire nations of people. And we have ISIS and other radical Islamic groups who wish to impose Sharia law on the West. Now more than ever, we need to preserve our freedoms and values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That doesn't end at the limits of our atmosphere.
Americans exploring outer space is an extension of our values, beliefs, and ways of life. It will ensure that- when the time comes to settle new worlds- democracy, civil liberties, and individual opportunity will be the presiding virtues of those new civilizations. In order for that to happen, we have to be there.
The first step is to take that first step on Mars. After that? The very heavens are the limit.