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The first man to walk on the moon blasted President Barack Obama’s decision to cancel NASA’s back-to-the-moon program on Tuesday, saying that the move is “devastating” to America’s space effort.
Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong’s open letter was also signed by Apollo 17 commander Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon; and Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell, who is marking the 40th anniversary of his famous lunar non-landing this week.
In an open letter obtained by NBC's Jay Barbree, former astronauts Neil Armstrong, James Lovell and Eugene Cernan urge President Obama to reconsider what they warn would be "devastating" new policies for the future of NASA.
While the President's plan envisages humans traveling away from Earth and perhaps toward Mars at some time in the future, the lack of developed rockets and spacecraft will assure that ability will not be available for many years.
here's some good news: even in hard economic times, President Obama would actually increase NASA's budget — to more than $100 billion — over the next five years. But space junkies had better be satisfied with that positive development, because it's just about the only one.
Bolden filled his prepared remarks with all the usual promises to "blaze a new trail," answer a "bold challenge," "spur innovation" and, of course, inspire young people, the fact of the matter is that the new plans will keep America on the ground for most of the next decade or longer. And whenever U.S. astronauts finally do return to space, they won't be going very far.
Former NASA administrator Mike Griffin, who built the NASA-centric programs that were canceled on Monday, is, perhaps unsurprisingly, no fan of the new approach. "With this policy," he says, "the U.S. human space-flight program is grounded indefinitely, because no date for the availability of commercial human spaceflight can be reliably predicted."
We may be the first species to evolve on Earth that can prevent our own extinction and it would be a shame if we drag our feet and fail to do that.