Cruz Presses NASA to Ignore Climate Change and go Back to its Roots: Space Exploration


One of the most well-known skeptics of climate change has been Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and he leaped at the opportunity to fight with a NASA official who appeared at a Senate subcommittee hearing, questioning why the agency should be spending money focused on such missions.

Cruz was appointed chairman of the Senate Space, Science, and Competitiveness Subcommittee this year, and Cruz’s selection as chair of this particular subcommittee raised eyebrows due to his long history of being opposed to NASA’s work.
Cruz leadership in the committee seems very at odds with NASA’s dozens of climate change focused programs and missions. And ever since his appointment to committee chair, Cruz has pushed for NASA to focus more on space and less on Earth. By not concentrating research and funding on space exploration, Cruz argues that the government is neglecting NASA’s core mission.
Many assume that Cruz, a possible 2016 presidential candidate, is eager to cut funding to NASA to help halt climate change research, and he sparred with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden over why Congress should continue to fund the agency’s dual missions of studying space from Earth and studying Earth from space, according to a Christian Science Monitor report.

At some point in the hearing on President Obama’s $18.5 billion budget request for NASA for fiscal 2016, he started out by asking NASA Administrator Charles Bolden what the core mission of NASA is. Bolden replied that the core mission from the very beginning has been to investigate, explore space and the Earth environment.

Cruz apparently didn’t appear to agree with “Earth Environment” part, adding that most Americans see its mission as to explore space, which is “what inspires little boys and little girls across this country.” He said he was “concerned” that NASA has lost touch with that focus, and began referring to charts showing that since 2009, NASA’s budget has seen a 41% increase in funding toward Earth science, while space exploration and operations has seen a 7.6% decrease.

Bolden argued that Earth-science research had allowed NASA to better understand the Earth than ever before.

The agency has good reason to be worried about climate change because NASA has spent $1 billion each year on Earth science, as the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., is in danger of being flooded if sea levels rise. Already, 100 feet of beach next to the launch pads have been lost to rising sea levels since 2003, prompting the agency to spend nearly $3 million on a mile-long dune to protect the launch pads, with more dunes planned.





  1. Arnastu says

    If you don’t like the data, stop gathering it. Brilliant.

    Space is in a sense, theater. Nothing much happens in space that means anything to us, except as pure curiosity. What is actually happening on this planet – quite apart from the partisanship of global warming – is of immense practical importance. But because he doesn’t like the idea of global warming for ideological reasons, Cruz wants to shut down earth science in general. NOAH will be next. The coast guard needs ocean temperatures to assist torpedo launches, but I’m sure Cruz would like to restrict those data also, for ‘national security’ perhaps.

    He should have the courage of his convictions: global warming may not be occurring, and if that is the picture that emerges, he will no doubt want to change course drastically, and give NASA all the money it likes. Being scared to find out if his preening certainties are correct doesn’t speak well for them, however.

  2. OrdinaryJoe says

    Really… Senator Cruz, lawyer / debate champion, wants to argue with a scientist about climate change??? WHO THE HELL MADE YOU THE AUTHORITY ON EARTH SCIENCE, your law degree or your experience as a politician? I can’t believe this guy is a potential nominee for the presidency. SHAME ON YOU AMERICA… SHAME!!!

  3. dale says

    Even as the sea level rises, Cruz encourages us to stick heads in the sand, on the pretext of caring more about outer space than our own Earth. According to Texas Climate News, the entire state of Texas, which Cruz represents, is subject to being submerged by rising sea levels.

  4. Stimpson says

    Ted Cruz – “Stop showing us the evidence for severe climate change! We don’t want to see that. You are not letting is bury our heads in the sand and I don’t like that. You need to go back to exploring space. Oh, by the way, we aren’t giving you any money to go back to space”.

  5. D Lee says

    Amazing how Cruz just ignores the stated core mission from the NASA director because it doesn’t fit his narrative. Sorry to be political, but the republican party is truly becoming a problem for us all.

  6. The Truth Hurts says

    A man who is vehemently against science is an appointed chairman of the Senate Space, Science, and Competitiveness Subcommittee? This country is doomed.

  7. Paul says

    Kidding me! Climate change deniers are crazy to think that not taking care of the only planet we can live on, off the map for investigation. We have real issues here on Earth with climate and its proven scientific fact that some non-science politician is allowed to deny?!! How does that work??

  8. Peter says

    Elections do actually have consequences. If 70% of people decided, that they will hand it over to anti-science republicans, then the country rightfully gets what the country deserves. Since average americans got no clue about a scientific method, they will be easily convinced about whatever the Fox propaganda channel gets paid to peddle. Like “see how much snow we got this year? Therefore no global warming.” Etc, etc.

    • dae says

      Republicans, except in local elections, do not get 70% of the vote. Republicans gain power by suppressing the vote, gerrymandering, and leveraging the malrepresentation in the Senate,.

      Most Americans agree with scientists that global warming is real, but most Americans have no power, since we live in a nation where money rules, and he who pays the piper calls the tune. This is what Mussoline called corporatocracy, or fascism. We politely call it oligarchy, but when the interests of the corporations become the interests of the state, we have the very fascist system that Mussolini promoted in The Doctrine of Fascism/1932.

      Republicans do not need 70% of the vote to win; they just need 70% of the voters to stay home on election day.

  9. avlisk says

    With so much evidence of extraterrestrials, anti-gravitic drive, and structures on the Moon, let’s not keep wasting money on manned space exploration with rockets.

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