New Space Documentary to Give Obama Pass on Spending Cuts?
"Fight for Space" is a scrappy indie documentary extolling the virtues of space travel and bemoaning the country's reticence to fund it.
The folks behind the upcoming film turned to Kickstarter.com, a film production crowd sourcing site, to raise the necessary greenbacks to complete the project.
Bully for them with all that bootstrap pulling.
The trailer for the film, however, appears to give President Barack Obama a pass for his proposed space program cuts while dragging a pair of prominent Republicans into the mud. We see President George W. Bush announcing the space shuttle program’s retirement, followed by a clip of Obama saying we can’t afford to lose the expertise of those who lost their jobs as a result.
Next, that science guy Bill Nye tells us there's an anti-science meme at play, a charge typically lobbed at conservatives who dare to question the School of Al Gore on climate science matters.
The trailer then trots out a clip of Mitt Romney saying the billions needed to put a space colony on the moon aren’t worth it, although he puts it in more colorful terms.
You'd think the trailer would let potential backers know that the Obama administration has been seeking to dramatically cut NASA's budget.
Scientists briefed on the proposed budget said that the president’s plan drops funding for planetary science at NASA from $1.5 billion this year to $1.2 billion next year, with further cuts continuing through 2017.
It would eat at NASA’s Mars exploration program, which, after two high-profile failures in 1999, has successfully sent three probes into Martian orbit and landed three more on the planet’s surface....
If approved, the president’s budget will sever NASA’s partnership with the European Space Agency to send probes to Mars in 2016 and 2018. Agreed upon in 2009, NASA was to pay $1.4 billion, and the Europeans $1.2 billion, for the two missions.
This wasn't the first time Obama short-changed the space agency. Veteran astronauts took to the pages of USA Today last year to bemoan the administration's short-sighted slight to another space program.
By 2005, in keeping with President Kennedy's intent and America's resolve, NASA was developing the Constellation program, focusing on a return to the moon while simultaneously developing the plans and techniques to venture beyond, and eventually to Mars.
The program enjoyed near-unanimous support, being approved and endorsed by the Bush administration and by both Democratic and Republican Congresses. However, due to its congressionally authorized funding falling victim to Office of Management and Budget cuts, earmarks and other unexpected financial diversions, Constellation fell behind schedule. An administration-appointed review committee concluded the Constellation program was "not viable" due to inadequate funding.
President Obama's proposed 2011 budget did not include funds for Constellation, therefore essentially canceling the program.
That information would certainly make the trailer pop. Perhaps all of the above will make the film's final cut, but the selective use of political speeches here suggests "Fight for Space" has a bigger agenda at play than just the country's future exploration of space.
Follow Christian Toto on Twitter @TotoMovies