Skip to main content

Charles Bolden: Obama's New Man At NASA

This is an amazingly important transition period at NASA, and I hope the new director is not just a caretaker type, but instead has a vision for where we want to go (MARS!!!!).

Bolden's toughest assignment is bridging the divide within NASA and among its powerful contractors between its glamorous traditional mission of manned space exploration and an expanding research focus made more urgent by climate change and other environmental issues.

"These are two separate challenges," Franco Enouldi, the director of earth sciences at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., said in an interview. "People will differ on which one is more important. Are the funds there to accomplish (both) missions? That is a serious question whose answer is not clear."

Obama has formed a commission to study the future of NASA, and he summoned Bolden to the White House on Tuesday to gain assurances that its prospective leader would implement its recommendations.

It helps that he's a spaceman. And yes I sort of prefer "spaceman" over "astronaut" because it implies he has a ray gun. You know, to fight space aliens and junk.