Friday, May 29, 2009

Does Obama's Nominee to Head NASA Have "the Right Stuff"?

President Obama has nominated retired astronaut Charles Bolden to be the new director of NASA. Looking at his biography on Wikipedia, he clearly has a similar "pedigree" to the original Mercury astronauts, who were more than enthusiastic about heading into space. So it looks promising.

However, Obama's proposed budget for NASA is only about $19 billion. This is absolutely not enough money, if the agency is going to do more than just "mark time." GM has burned through that much cash this year, and its a mere pittance compared to what the government has handed out to the banking industry. If NASA is going to be the kind of inspiring agency which Obama has said he wants it to be, and if we are going to aggressively expand into space, then NASA needs to have its budget increased. Ideally, they'd be handed an annual budget around $100 billion or so, but that's unlikely to happen any time soon.

Still, if Bolden does have "the Right Stuff," and Obama meant what he said when he campaigned on making NASA an inspirational agency again, we'll see an increase in NASA's budget shortly. Raising NASA's budget to $25 billion would be a good start in showing that Obama is serious on space. Let's hope that Bolden is willing to fight for it, if Obama doesn't propose it on his own.

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