Obama Destroys U.S. Future in Space

February 10, 2016
Obama at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in 2010 when he callously asked, "why go back to the Moon? We've been there before."

Barack Obama's budget request for NASA in Fiscal Year 2017 marks the first time that NASA has ever been cut to below 0.5% of the Federal budget — its share was near 5% during the years of JFK's Apollo Program.

In requesting $19 billion for NASA, Obama cut the Congressional authorization for the space agency by $300 million. But he called for much deeper cuts in "deep space" and "planetary" exploration, the area of NASA's work in which national missions for the future could emerge, were Obama removed. These cuts, combined, were in the range of $1 billion, according to a review in USA Today.

In 2006 NASA, despite years of declining resources in real terms, still was making plans for a Moon base, with a future of scientific observation of the universe and preparations to exploit the Moon, including as a potential forward base for travel to Mars. In some versions of NASA's planning, the base was to be on the Moon's far side.

Obama scrapped that in 2009-10 by killing the Constellation Program, thus making the Moon inaccessible for the indefinite future, and formally renouncing it as a goal.

Now China and Russia are the nations planning for robotic and human landings on the Moon — perhaps in collaboration — led by China's just-announced intention to start a base on the far side of the Moon by 2018-20.

Obama, when killing Constellation, claimed the United States could, at some future time, go straight to Mars with a new Space Launch System and "Orion" program. Now, in the FY2017 budget, he is killing them, in effect; he would have done so already if Congress hadn't insisted on investing about $10 billion in SLS/Orion since FY2011.

For SLS, for example, Congressional funding in FY2016 was about $2 billion; Obama calls for $1.3 billion in FY2017.

What Obama wants to increase, in NASA's budget, is "Earth sciences" — climate change detection, in his diseased green mind, in the service of driving human science and technology back to the past. As EIR Founding Editor Lyndon LaRouche described it, "By cancelling the space program, you [obama] actually turn back history."

House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) immediately denounced Obama's budget in a statement to Ars Technica, as an "imbalanced proposal [that] continues to tie our astronauts feet to the ground and makes a Mars mission all but impossible."

But the real fight will come, not from austerity-addled Republicans, but from activists with leaders like Texas LaRouche Democrat Kesha Rogers, who won two Congressional primary contests with the plan: "Save NASA; Impeach Obama."