NASA Administrator Mike Griffin was in New Jersey last week, promoting his agency’s efforts at exploring and settling space as the ultimate way of ensuring humanity’s survival in the face of a likely global holocaust, NJHerald.com reports.
Speaking before an audience at the County College of Morris, Griffin played a video narrated by physicist Stephen Hawking that showed the Earth shrinking into the vast cosmos. “Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers,” Hawking intoned ominously. “I think the human race has no future if it doesn’t go into space.”
Griffin heartily agreed, saying that if a picture is worth a thousand words, then the video is worth “a thousand pictures.” He then proceeded to make a pitch for why it’s also worth billions in tax dollars for his space agency’s efforts to explore and settle Earth orbit, the moon and Mars.
“People ask me why we’re going back to the moon. Haven’t we already been there?” Griffin said. “Well, yes, we have. But using that critereon, then Spain should have stopped colonizing the New World. We’re returning to the moon both to learn how to go further and for the science we can learn about the moon, on the moon.”
The NASA administrator told the audience that recent polls show that 70 percent of the American public supports the agency’s mission. He also boasted of NASA’s efforts at improving weather forecasting, understanding of other words, and promoting commercial space development.
The Herald article gives no indication whether Griffin made any mention of NASA’s work on studying global warming, which threatens the world with catastrophic climate change within this century. This is ironic given Hawking’s talk of global destruction and the threat that climate change poses to the Jersey Shore, much of which is composed fragile barrier islands that could be wiped out by rising sea levels.
Griffin has declared himself to be an agnostic regarding global warming, publicly questioning whether it poses a serious threat to the planet. He has presided over deep cuts in NASA’s Earth sciences programs, which many scientists believe are crucial to monitoring changes in the Earth’s climate.