Here’s some hair-raising news on the space weapons/debris front:
The United States threatened to take military action against China during a secret “star wars” arms race within the past few years, according to leaked documents obtained by The Daily Telegraph.
The two nuclear superpowers both shot down their own satellites using sophisticated missiles in separate show of strength, the files suggest.
Bush Administration Nixed NASA’s U.S.-China Cooperation Idea
“NASA tried and failed to obtain Bush administration approval of an overture to China for a cooperative U.S.-China space mission, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin tells Aviation Week & Space Technology. The White House believes that a higher level of cooperation is too great a reward to China for its human rights and arms-trafficking violations of international law.”
NASA’s Response to AvWeek Article
Unfortunately, Aviation Weekâ€™s recent article of Dec. 21, 2008, entitled â€œBush Administration Nixed NASA’s U.S.-China Cooperation Idea,” is inaccurate and misleading.
I realize this is a space blog, but I thought I would pause for a little perspective. Sometimes we get so focused on “affordable” $95,000 joyrides into space, and public spats about how much NASA has gone over budget on some Mars probe, that we can lose sight of the bigger picture. It’s going to be a miserable Christmas for far too many people. All because the companies they worked for were so greedy that they managed to lobby themselves right off a cliff with hare-brained lending schemes.
Bush administration ignored clear warnings
“The Bush administration backed off proposed crackdowns on no-money-down, interest-only mortgages years before the economy collapsed, buckling to pressure from some of the same banks that have now failed. It ignored remarkably prescient warnings that foretold the financial meltdown, according to an Associated Press review of regulatory documents.
The Bush Administration released a new report that predicts large and harmful environmental and health impacts of human-caused global warmingÂ in the United States. The summary report, which by law must be released every four years, wasÂ completed onlyÂ after a court challenge from environmental groups.
The New York Times reports:
“The last such assessment, undertaken in the Clinton administration and published in 2000, was attacked by groups and industries opposing restrictions on greenhouse gases. References to it were deleted from some government reports by political appointees in the White House.
“Environmental groups sued to force the completion of a new study. In court, the White House contended that a series of more than 20 studies requested by President Bush in 2003 satisfied the 1990 law, but Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong of Federal District Court for the Northern District of California rejected that assertion last August and ordered a comprehensive assessment to be published by the end of May.”
I’m currently reading a very interesting book about NASA’s work on climate change. “Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth About Global Warming,” by Mark Bowen, is an eye-opening account of the Bush Administration’s handling of global warming science.
Bowen recounts how that the Administration was determined to distort or censor anything produced by government scientists about global warming that contradicted its official position that more study was required before mandatory carbon caps or other actions could be taken.
Although the book focuses on Dr. James Hansen, a noted climate scientist at Goddard Space Flight Center, the story is much broader. Bowen says this effort was part of a larger, tightly coordinated campaign run out of the White House to censor government climate scientists in NASA, NOAA, EPA and every other agency that deals with climate change. This censorship involved the heavy editing of NASA press releases, the denial of permission to scientists to give interviews to media outlets, threats to people’s jobs, and other coercive measures.
Jeff Foust of SpacePolitics.com has a couple of reports on comments made by President Bush’s Science Adviser, John Marburger, during the Goddard Memorial Symposium concerning America’s future in space and whether there is a new “space race” with China.
Marburger emphasized that the nation’s goal is essentially to incorporate the Solar System into our economic sphere, Foust reports. The presidential adviser also took issue with several statements made by the Stanford Group, which gathered recently in Palo Alto to suggest alternative paths the United States could take. Marburger said the group put too much emphasis on exploration and not enough on economic benefits.
â€œExploration by a few is not the grandest achievement,â€ Marburger said. â€œOccupation by many is grander.â€
Foust also reports that the science adviser downplayed any rivalry with China. â€œI think it would be a serious mistake to construe the relative activities of China and the US as the beginning of a new space race,â€ Marburger said. â€œIt would lose the opportunity for synergistic effortsâ€ between China and the United States.
You can read Marburger’s prepared remarks here. Jonathan Goff also has thoughts about his remarks at Selenian Boondocks.