Mar 13 2015

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Preach it, Brutha Cruz!

Bolden, Cruz Spar Over NASA Priorities, Especially Earth Science.

Cruz and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), the two Republicans who attended the hearing before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, couched their objections to how much NASA spends on earth science not in terms of the climate change debate, but as priority setting in a budget constrained environment. Their basic argument, which has been made by others in the past, is that NASA has a unique role in space exploration while many agencies are involved in studying the earth. NASA therefore should focus its resources on what it does uniquely and let the other agencies take responsibility for earth science research including space-based observations.

Cruz stated the question as “Should NASA focus primarily inwards or outwards beyond lower-Earth-orbit [sic],” inward meaning looking down at Earth. The Obama Administration has allocated “a disproportionate increase in the amount of federal funds” for earth science “at the expense of and compared to Exploration and Space Operations, Planetary Science, Heliophysics and Astrophysics which I believe are all rooted in exploration and should be central to the core mission of NASA.” He later said “It’s not that earth sciences are not valuable, but in the last 6 years, there has been a disproportionate increase.”

I get why Bolden is pushing back on the issue — it’s a rice-bowl thing. Even if he himself thought that Earth Sciences were a waste of NASA’s time, as the NASA leader he has to fight to keep NASA’s budget (even the extraneous parts) intact. Bolden tips his hand a little bit when

He also remarked that if Congress were to cut NASA earth science funding “you would just have to move the programs elsewhere” because only NASA launches earth science instruments into space.

So there you go…Bolden’s thinking is if the government is going to fund these programs anyway, they might as well be funded via NASA.

In spite of Cruz’s and Bolden’s differences, the meeting was cordial, according to the article.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/03/13/preach-it-brutha-cruz/

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