Lost in space

To the moon, Hillary!

An hour ago, if you’d asked me what are Obama’s and Clinton’s positions on the manned space program, I’d have said that I don’t know, but I’d guess they’re both for it, as are all politicians who aren’t scientists or libertarians.

A little investigation shows that it’s somewhat more nuanced than that (and, I now see, an issue that’s been well covered despite my inattention). Clinton may have pandered to the Houston Chronicle, or maybe not—it’s not pandering if you sincerely support the policy in question, on its merits, regardless of the audience you’re addressing

Challenged by an audience member over her stated support for a “robust” manned space program, Mrs. Clinton said that the International Space Station and missions to the Moon or Mars were the sort of projects that do or would spark the “imagination” and excite people about science, research and the future.

That said, she noted that the manned space program “wouldn’t be at the top of my priorities.” A moment later she called it a secondary priority,” and added, “I have not bought into President Bush’s emphasis into going to Mars.”

The candidates’ policy particulars don’t differ on much more than funding for Constellation (the return-to-the-moon program). I prefer Obama’s approach and rhetoric, but I don’t hold out much hope that he’ll be able to fix NASA; I am confident that neither would inject nonsense about Mars into a SOTU address.