Tuesday, July 06, 2010

NASA reaching out to the Muslim world

It seems that Obama's Cairo initiative includes outer space as well. Here is a recent Al-Jazeera interview with NASA administrator, Charles Bolden (tip from Jim Wald). The interview is interesting and it covers the recent direction of NASA, potential mission to asteroids, criticism of the current vision, the international space station, and even a question about life elsewhere in the universe. However, the first few minutes are about the relations with the Muslim world and this is what Bolden has to say about it.
"When I became the NASA administrator -- or before I became the NASA administrator -- he charged me with three things. One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me 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," Bolden said in the interview. 
The NASA administrator was in the Middle East last month marking the one-year anniversary since Obama delivered an address to Muslim nations in Cairo. Bolden spoke in June at the American University in Cairo -- in his interview with Al Jazeera, he described space travel as an international collaboration of which Muslim nations must be a part.  
"It is a matter of trying to reach out and get the best of all worlds, if you will, and there is much to be gained by drawing in the contributions that are possible from the Muslim (nations)," he said. He held up the International Space Station as a model, praising the contributions there from the Russians and the Chinese. 

However, Bolden denied the suggestion that he was on a diplomatic mission -- in a distinctly non-diplomatic role.  
"Not at all. It's not a diplomatic anything," he said.  
He said the United States is not going to travel beyond low-Earth orbit on its own and that no country is going to make it to Mars without international help. 
The last statement not withstanding, this again confirms my impression that Obama's science initiative towards the Muslim world is broad and substantive (see an earlier post: Obama's science initiative in Indonesia). On the one hand, a collaboration with NASA seems a bit out of place when none of the Muslim countries can even launch decent sized payloads in low-Earth orbit. On the other hand, the prestige and symbolism attached to NASA is such that any reasonable collaboration will probably get full appreciative attention. But the nature of collaboration has to be more substantive than shooting a Saudi prince into a low-Earth orbit (been there, done that). I wish the interviewer had pushed Bolden for at least some more details. As far as diplomacy is concerned, I think this is a brilliant idea. Now I know why the meeting of Pakistani-American doctors was in a Mars-like habitat...

Here is the full interview (about 20 mins.):

See related posts:
Obama's science initiative in Indonesia
A bill to support scientific research in the Muslim world
Obama's science envoys for the Muslim world


Spaceman said...

This is an interesting development and one that is surely going to provide a positive level of religious integrative interaction between the many seemingly divergent religious cultures in the world.

HotConflict said...

When people are so filled with rage or hate or racism against others they fail to see the obvious. The Muslims claims have been that for 1500 years your false royal families and false churches have been worshiping false gods in the heavens instead of the actual lord most high. WAKE UP people.
The false gods your western world have BEEN worshiping just left or turned to the Light.
If this world wants to be included into galactic civilization they must see that the Muslims are your true brothers and you have been deceived by your leaders. Those who do not realize the truth before the changes of the Sun will have to learn by experience, meaning tribulation or worldly trials.
You worshiped false gods, your churches lied to you about Christ the Messiah Ascended like the prophet Muhammed Ascended after him. The Babylonian Romans prevented you from this truth by giving you technology.

NASA and this administration are trying to figure out how to tell the general public without greater conflict. Pay attention to what is really happening instead of following your own rage and ignorance.

If you want to truly understand the information is out there. The truth is out there. It is also found in your heart, but if you hate everyone you cant feel your heart so at least pay attention to reality.
Wake up people.
We are not your enemy and we never have been.

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