Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz was never one to hide his skepticism regarding the issue of climate change, and when he was offered the chance of fighting a NASA official at a Senate subcommittee meeting, he didn’t waste it.
Starting 2015, Cruz settled in as director of the Senate Space, Science, and Competitiveness Subcommittee, and critics are suspicious of his selection for this particular subcommittee, as he is known for a long-standing history of opposition toward NASA’s focus on climate change oriented missions.
Cruz’s strong views contradict NASA’s investment in climate change focused programs, and ever since he occupied the committee chair, the senator has been pressuring the agency to go back to focusing on space. He believes that NASA is neglecting one of its core purposes by depriving space exploration missions of their necessary funding and research.
Cruz is one of the potential 2016 presidential candidate and experts believe that a win would mean a serious cut in NASA’s funding. He seems eager to halt any climate change research done by the agency, and he debated with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden about the Congress funding for the agency’s missions of studying Earth from space.
After hearing about President Obama’s request for a $18.5 billion budget for NASA, Cruz proceeded to ask Bolden about the core purpose of NASA existence, and the administrator replied that exploring the space and investigating Earth’s environment have always been the focus, right from the beginning.
Apparently, Cruz could not agree with the second part of the answer, explaining that most Americans think of NASA as a space exploring program, an initiative that is a true inspiration for children all around the mighty US. Cruz argued that NASA has forgotten its initial purpose, and then proceeded to point out that since 2009, funding for Earth science increased with 41 percent, whereas the budget for space exploration and programs was decreased with 7.6 percent.
On his side of the debate, Bolden explained that Earth science has helped NASA understand the Earth better than ever before. And climate change is a serious worry for which $1 billion of the agency’s funds go on Earth science every year; for example, the Kennedy Space Center located in Cape Canaveral, Fla., is under flooding threat due to sea possible levels rise.
The launch pads that are built on the beach are getting closer and closer to being underwater, and since 2003, 100 feet of beach have been lost to rising sea levels. The agency spent almost $3 million on building a mile-long dune as protection for the launch pads, and has several more dunes planned.
Image Source: NASA
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