by Quin Hillyer at al.com;
As Donald Trump builds his Cabinet, too little public attention has focused on the quasi-Cabinet-level position of Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
It’s an agency needing significant attention – and in Trump-supporting Alabama, home to Huntsville’s Marshall Space Flight Center, we should be pushing for NASA to be revamped, re-energized, and perhaps re-imagined.
NASA traditionally has been one federal agency that gets good “bang for the buck,” in terms of benefits to human life. Because of experiments that can be conducted only in the weightlessness of space, NASA has contributed mightily to human medicine in ways too numerous to count (heart-transplant-related devices, artificial limbs, and pain reduction during cancer treatments among them). NASA also has contributed in many ways to highway safety, mapping, weather tracking….
Still, despite its triumphs, NASA too long has seemed to lack, in the eyes of the public, a well-defined mission – much less a galvanizing one. It certainly wasn’t helped when, early in President Obama’s term, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said that “perhaps the foremost thing” he could do in his job was “to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science … and math and engineering.”
NASA needs a boost, and maybe a re-launch. It does too much good to be ignored….