For Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear, the answer was of course beyond. But for the real life NASA, the answer is something else entirely. Seems that NASA Administrator Charles Bolden gave an interview last month to Al Jazeera( have no idea why) and told them what the mission of NASA really is.
Let me backtrack just a bit. Bolden told the Arabic network that the President had told him there were three things on which he wanted him to focus at NASA. Play the children’s game and see if you can tell which of the three does not fit with the other two.
Number one was for children to be re-inspired to focus on science and math. Number two was the expansion of our international relationships ( presumably as they relate to space) and number three was- drum roll please- to improve relations with the Muslim world and that furthermore it was his ”foremost” mission. In that context, Bolden was tasked to reach out and engage with the Muslim world and to make them feel good about their historic contributions in the area of math and science. ( History will tell you that those contributions were a rather long time in the past.) Somewhat strangely, Bolden resisted attempts to call his mission diplomacy. His quote was “It’s not a diplomatic anything.”
Shortly after Bolden’s comments created a predictable firestorm, both the White House and NASA backed him up, to a point, maintaining that improving relations with the Muslim world is a part of NASA’s mission, but not foremost. Seems to me that is confusion between the idea of co-operation and improving relations. Besides, Obama has been working rather hard at that Muslim outreach thing ever since last June in Cairo.
I did have one unanswered question. When Bolden was tasked to reach out to the Muslim world, that did include France, right?
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