Tue, Jul 06, 2010
Comments Made During Interview With Al Jazeera Television.
In a recent interview with Al
Jazeera television, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden
(pictured) said his, and by extension NASA's "foremost"
mission is to improve U.S./Muslim relations. And he said President
Obama has given him that task.
"When I became the NASA administrator -- or before I became the
NASA administrator -- he (Obama) charged me with three things,"
Bolden told the interviewer. "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,"
Fox News reports that Bolden was in the Middle East last month
to mark the anniversary of the President's speech to Muslim nations
in Cairo. During the interview, he described space exploration as
an international effort, and that the Muslim world must be a part
of that effort.
Bolden insisted his mission was not diplomatic. He said the U.S.
is not going to travel beyond low-Earth orbit without international
help, and that no country could make it to Mars on its own. He held
up international partnerships with the Russians, Japan, and Europe
in ISS as examples of they type of international cooperation
that continued space exploration will require. He told Al Jazeera
that the Moon, Mars, and asteroids are all potential destinations
for manned space flight, but a lunar colony was unlikely because
"you don't have to."
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