Does the U.S. -- and either of the two presidential candidates -- have a vision for America's future in space? It doesn't sound like it, according to an e-mail that was leaked to the Orlando Sentinel today by the guy who wrote it.
"They will tell us to extend shuttle," NASA administration Mike Griffin says of the next administration. "There is no other politically tenable course. It will appear irrational -- heck, it will be irrational -- to say we've built a Space Station we cannot use, that we're throwing away a $100 billion investment, when the cost of saving it is merely to continue flying Shuttle."
Griffin was brought into NASA to help fulfill the Bush administration's goal of retiring the space shuttle program and return astronauts to the moon, as a first step of going to Mars.
But NASA and space proponents have had an increasingly difficult time answering a simple question about humans in space at a time when the country is a financial basket case: Why?
I think the "why" could be that our space program, and other basic research programs in general, is one of the reasons our country has been a world leader in technological ingenuity.
Unfortunately, the space program is like political conventions: It's hard to quantify its benefits, so it's hard to determine when its costs are greater than its benefits.
Sarah Palin is not a feminist. In order to be a feminist a woman or a man must support a woman's right to choose an abortion. The freedom to choose, along with respecting a woman's decision in this very private matter is what separates a feminist from a conservative. Sarah Palin is certainly a lovely and intelligent woman, but just because she has been asked to run on the McCain ticket does not in any way give her feminist status. There are many conservative, moderate women who like to think of themselves as feminist, and they even go so far as to call themselves such. Unfortunately, all these women have done is further the support of the white male patriarchal system (they themselves have benefited from doing so) which does nothing for women like me. When women like Sarah Palin publicly support a womens right to choose and do not actively work to overturn Roe vs Wade; when they reintroduce the Equal Rights Ammendment, and actively seek to save the planet, then, and only then, can they call themselves a feminist.