Obama and the Space Program

President Barack Obama has begun his second term.  Good luck to him.  He has a lot of problems to deal with.  But my primary interest and concern is science and space exploration.  Some would dismiss these things as expenses we can’t afford right now; I would point out that space has many untapped natural resources that could rejuvenate the global economy.  So what is the future of American space exploration?

The President’s second inaugural speech made no mention of the space program.  Other than a few words on renewable energy and the importance of teachers, he made no references to science at all.  Still, I have hope that in the next four years and in the decades that follow, American space exploration will grow rapidly.  In his first term, Mr. Obama changed the focus of US space exploration from government run organizations like NASA to private companies like SpaceX and Virgin Galactic.  It was a surprising, free market solution that should have pleased Republicans.

Though NASA’s role in space exploration has diminished, they are not irrelevant yet.  Their latest Mars rover, Curiosity, has been a huge success, providing soil sample analyses in unprecedented detail, giving us new clues about whether or not Mars could support life.  There are also rumors that, following the President’s reelection, NASA might announce new plans to send humans to the Moon.  Click here for more on that.

So President Obama has officially begun his second term, and he still has to deal with a Republican controlled House of Representatives.  I expect things will continue to be messy in Washington, and at times I’ll probably do a face-palm and feel embarrassed for my country.  But I remain excited for the future of space exploration.  How about you?

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