NASA’s restructuring sounds good, but there’s more Halliburton-style lunacy behind it
If you don’t think Halliburton and other Bush regime corporate cronies are going to be mining the moon, then you don’t know Jack Schmitt.
I’m talking about Harrison H. “Jack” Schmitt, the last human being to walk on the moon.
Word out of D.C., courtesy of this morning’s Washington Post, is that the new NASA administrator, Michael D. Griffin, is cleaning house, getting rid of a lot of political appointees and bringing in more scientists and engineers.
It’s the right thing to do, but for the wrong reason: George W. Bush‘s big push to conquer the moon and Mars. The Post story by Guy Gugliotta explains:
But what Gugliotta doesn’t explain is what underlies this noble pursuit.
Just over 31 years after Jack Schmitt walked on the moon, Bush announced on January 14, 2004, his big plans to conquer space—you understand, of course, that his handlers mean that in terms of mining minerals and gases on the moon as soon as possible. The White House’s plans are preserved on a special page called “A Renewed Spirit of Discovery.”
For many of us, a “renewed spirit of discovery” may mean exploration of the Downing Street Memo. The minute I found out in the British press about that revealing memo, on April 30, I felt like going Ralph Kramden on Bush’s ass—you know, bang, zoom, right to the moon.
The space stuff just heaps on the annoyance. For the Bush regime’s corporate pals, space exploration means firing unproven nuclear rockets into space, landing on the moon, staking a unilateral claim to it, and setting up mining operations to extract, at a huge profit, such valuable resources as helium-3.
Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, laid out a lot of this background in a January ’04 story posted on wagingpeace.org.
Space exploration is a wonderful thing, but Gagnon points out several aspects of this particular lunacy. Nuclear rockets would cut the flying time to Mars in half, and the Bush regime already has announced a $3 billion effort to increase the number of launches of nuclear-powered vehicles into space. Gagnon quotes CUNY physicist Michio Kaku (co-founder of String Field Theory) as saying:
But once we get there, we can’t just mine the moon and keep all the profits ourselves, can we? I mean, there’s the Outer Space Treaty of 1967. The eternally witty Gersh Kuntzman tackled this topic in a January ’04 MSNBC piece on Bush’s schemes, “Spaced-Out Invaders”:
Just about every other nation has ratified the Outer Space Treaty. But there’s also a Moon Treaty, and the U.S. and most other countries have ignored it.
Kuntzman brightly sums up the fuelish dreams that cause U.S. officials to ignore this set of treaties:
Harrison Schmitt, the former Apollo astronaut who also served a term as U.S. senator from New Mexico, is not ignoring the issue. In an op-ed published in the aerospace industry publication Space News entitled, “The Moon Treaty: Not a Wise Idea,” Schmitt stated, “The mandate of an international treaty regime would complicate private commercial efforts and give other countries political control over the permissibility, timing and management of all private commercial activities. … The strong prohibition on ownership of ‘natural resources’ also causes worry.”
Schmitt is hardly a disinterested observer. Don’t think of him as an astronaut talking. Ignore the fact that he’s the only scientist who’s ever been sent to the moon by the U.S. Think of him as another greedy bidnessman. Schmitt is a board member of Orbital Sciences Corporation, where former Secretary of the Air Force Jim Roche, a key figure in the Boeing scandal, also just landed after he was kicked out of the Pentagon.
Orbital Sciences recently was briefly shut down for a fraud investigation, as I pointed out June 7.
I told you you didn’t know Jack Schmitt.