NASA No Longer Allowed to do work relevant to Earth?

From Aero-News Network

Has NASA Given Up On Planet Earth?

This just in — NASA is no longer in the business of protecting our planet.
For the first time since 2002, NASA’s mission statement makes no mention of
the planet Earth.

The New York Times reports that for the past four years, NASA’s mission
statement read, “To understand and protect our home planet; to explore the
universe and search for life; to inspire the next generation of
explorers… as only NASA can.”

Since early February, however, NASA’s mission statement — placed on all
its budget and planning documents — now reads “to pioneer the future in
space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research.”

No mention is made of exploring… or protecting… terra firma.

NASA spokesman David E. Steitz told the Times the change was made to bring
NASA’s stated goals in line with President Bush’s aim for manned
spaceflight to the moon and Mars — but that explanation isn’t sitting well
with many NASA scientists, who fear the omission means NASA is no longer
concerned with projects dealing with such global issues as climate change,
and greenhouse emissions.

“We refer to the mission statement in all our research proposals that go
out for peer review, whenever we have strategy meetings,” said 25-year NASA
veteran Philip B. Russell, an atmospheric chemist at the Ames Research
Center in Moffett Field, CA. “As civil servants, we’re paid to carry out
NASA’s mission. When there was that very easy-to-understand statement that
our job is to protect the planet, that made it much easier to justify this
kind of work.”

Furthermore, NASA researchers say the change was made without consulting
the agency’s 19,000 employees — an issue Stietz attributed to NASA
administrator Michael Griffin’s “headquarters-down” style of management.
[more though the link]

FYI, Tom Tomorrow cartoon archive:


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