Bloggers say the darndest things

While I normally don’t scan the so-called blogosphere for commentary about space policy, one post on Blogcritics.org caught my eye: “Bush Guts Critical Science Projects And Outsources NASA Projects To India To Further His Ambitions”. The author, who identifies himself as only “Jet in Columbus”, decries both the cutbacks in NASA science programs and the space agency’s decision to cooperate with India on lunar exploration. However, he claims in his lede that “‘ol GW apparently is slashing NASA’s research funds by $59.8 billion in order to make budgetary room to salvage his pompous and extravagant scheme to get a moon base in his name set up by 2020.” $59.8 billion? That’s nearly four years’ worth of NASA’s entire budget; the cuts to NASA’s science programs over the next several years are more than an order of magnitude smaller. “Jet in Columbus” never provides a source for that figure, perhaps because he can’t.

Later, he claims that NASA’s decision to fly two instruments on ISRO’s Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter mission is evidence that NASA is somehow outsourcing its science program to India. Nowhere in his analysis, though, does he mention that NASA recently confirmed its plans to launch its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter—a much larger and arguably more capable spacecraft than Chandrayaan-1—in 2008. “Jet in Columbus” also argues that “Everyone seems to be overlooking the fact that India’s four-stage Chandrayann-1 [sic] rocket that’s going to be used for this mission is also potentially the same device being developed for carrying possible nuclear warheads.” In fact, that hasn’t been ignored (even if he confuses the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft wth its PSLV launch vehicle), although as previously noted here most consider that a very weak argument.

There does appear to be one truthful item in his post: “Jet in Columbus” has his own blog, titled “The Absent Mind”, with the subtitle “The insane ramblings of a conservative trapped in a Liberal’s body.” Tough to argue with that.

10 comments to Bloggers say the darndest things

  • .

    Cant really see where you’re going with this Jeff. Are you saying that bloggers like yourself are irrelevant?

  • Jeff Foust


    My point is not to say that all bloggers are “irrelevant”. (Nor would I try to convince you to hang on every word I post, however.) Sometimes, though, you run across a post so egregious it deserves a few seconds of infamy. In general, I’d argue, there’s not a lot of good space policy commentary online: indicative, perhaps, of the relative importance (or lack thereof) of space policy in the grander scheme of things.

  • Matthew Corey Brown

    I see it as the public has no idea the facts of our space program or care, and is just looking to kill anything that could fund what ever is dear to their own heart. When even by doing so they are helping to kill that which they attempt to save.

  • Alex

    Wow, this “Jet in Columbus” piece may be (relative to its topic) one of the most poorly researched blog posts I’ve ever read.

  • Jim Muncy


    This sounds like just a Bush hater. There are plenty of good reasons to criticize this president, but his space policy isn’t one of them.
    I am particularly amused by the notion that the lunar base will be named after GWB.
    Obviously “jet” doesn’t know we plan to name the base at the South Pole — up on the ridge line of Aitken Basin, which is in perpetual sunlight — Reaganton, since it will be that “shining city on a hill”. (evil grin)

    – Jim

  • Bill White

    For the record this anonymous “Bill” is not me.


    I like Mike Griffin and George Bush deserves praise for that choice. Any NASA Administrator who can unabashedly assert that the goal is the permanent settlement of space needs to be supported.

  • Bill,

    . . . not to mention the science advisor!

    Jim: There are plenty of good reasons to criticize this president, but his space policy isn’t one of them.

    I fully agree, though I would probably add the space policy is pretty much the only one. Unfortunately, the Administration’s other idiocies (credit card budgeting, picking extraordinarily expensive wars, ignoring impending environmental disasters until they are extremely expensive to fix, encouraging vast divisions of wealth and the attendant future social unrest, et cetera) will probably make this achievement entirely moot.

    — Donald

  • John Malkin

    The information age has brought an enormous number of minds to virtual print with little regard to journalistic values. It’s nice to find a starry jewel like spacepolitics amongst the dark matter of the internet. Thank you, Jeff for a great blog.

    I would hope that the names of the Apollo 1 astronauts would be included in the lunar base name either in the names of the modules or maybe even a lunar base for each one.

  • Matthew Corey Brown

    OT but i think of Cis-Lunar Space as “The Grissom Sea”

  • You may have intended this in jest, but I think it’s a great idea, Matthew. If the VSE succeeds (failure does not deserve such recognition), I may start using the term in my articles.

    — Donald