Some 45 years ago, Star Trek (The Original Series) took to the American airwaves with stories from the USS Enterprise’s “five year mission”. The goals of this mission were repeated at the beginning of every show:

to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before

It seems like a fairly straightforward mission, even if the goal of finding scantily clad and green female aliens remained unstated. Millions of people, not just Americans, have long looked toward the stars and wondered what it would be like to travel and indeed live among them. Once upon a time, the stated goals of the National Aeronatics and Space Administration were much the same as the fictional television series. Not so anymore.

Man last left low earth orbit in December of 1972 when Apollo 17 carried astronauts Eugene A. Cernan, Ronald E. Evans, and Harrison H. Schmitt to the moon for what turned out to be America’s last moon shot. Mr. Cernan has the distinction of being the last man to walk on the surface of an alien world.

You might be curious as to what Hope and Change has brought to NASA. Well, here are (according to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden) NASA’s top objectives:

1. Re-inspire children to want to get into science and math
2. Expand our international relationships
3. 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.

Dear reader, I wish I could say I was making up number three. What makes it even more pathetic is the fact that Mr. Bolden considers this the “foremost” objective of NASA in the eyes of The One.

In other words, what was once the world’s foremost space exploration agency is now tasked with helping Muslim nations feel good about themselves.

For the record, I have nothing against Muslim nations “feeling good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering”. I do have a problem with that being the foremost objective of my nation’s space program. I guess I shouldn’t make this too much of an issue. There are only two more planned launches in the Space Shuttle program.

Make sure you tune in on February 26, 2011 to see Endeavour’s last flight. Why? Because once she rockets into space and safely returns, the nation who put a man on the moon will no longer be able to put one into orbit.

There, dear reader, is Hope and Change at work.

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