Politics

NASA Moves Beyond Women And Muslims, Holds Hispanic Outreach Event

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter

NASA will hold a Hispanic heritage conference in its headquarters in Washington Tuesday, doubling down on the space agency’s promotion of diversity goals.

A program called “Aspira con NASA” [Aspire with NASA] will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website at 10 a.m. Eastern time. The program will “highlight the contributions of Hispanics to NASA’s mission and their incredible personal stories.”

The conference only appears to feature two Hispanic NASA personnel.

Official NASA documents state that the agency has only ever sent eight Hispanic astronauts into space. NASA’s Space Shuttle has sent about 833 astronauts into space.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, a President Barack Obama appointee, will speak at the event. Bolden has a long history of focusing NASA on meeting certain diversity goals rather than space exploration.

Bolden’s stated in 2010 that his top priority was “to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science.”

Bolden signed a pact with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in June to boost said outreach to Muslims. It is unclear how NASA expects to benefit from the pact, as the UAE’s program is far behind America’s space agency. The UAE launched its first satellite in 2009 and has only scheduled the launch of four satellites. NASA launched its first satellite in 1958 and has put more than 500 satellites into orbit and conducted more than 100 manned missions into space.

During Bolden’s tenure, NASA has also been forced to host summits on gender equality, at the explicit direction of the White House Council on Women and Girls. Various female NASA and Obama administration officials attended the event to help “others who are working at the community level to find out how they are empowering women and girls.”

Obama has repeatedly tried to slash space exploration funding and redirect money towards outreach programs to Muslims, feminists and now Hispanics as well  climate modeling programs to measure global warming. Obama has increased NASA’s budget for outreach and environmental science programs by 63 percent.

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