Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Obama's Sputtering "Sputnik Moment"

...Invoking space race metaphors is a risky proposition for Mr. Obama. On his watch NASA killed its plan to return to the moon and has scaled back most of its other programs. But competition in space is alive and well. Last October China sent an unmanned probe into Moon orbit to map possible landing sites. The People’s Republic is expected to make a manned moon landing sometime this decade. The Obama administration has done its best to curry favor with Beijing, which in return has exploited American technology and open markets, and treated the United States with disdain.

Maybe when the red flag is flying on the lunar surface the United States will have a true Sputnik moment, the shocked realization that while the rest of mankind is making giant leaps, Obama’s America can manage only small steps.

(The rest of this excellent Washington Times editorial is here.)

Also regarding Obama's very strange metaphor, here's the take of Andrew Malcolm in the LA Times:

It's strange for a president who's basically gutting NASA's manned space program to call for another Sputnik moment to galvanize the nation to do something he apparently thinks we can't afford anymore.

All the national unity, innovations, new products, jobs, medical lessons, pride and science that he cites coming out of that vast space undertaking were so good for the country that after the last shuttle mission this summer we'll be renting seats on Russian rockets.