There might be no federal government entity more loved than NASA. It took us to the moon and showed us more of the stars than humanity ever imagined was possible. When people think of NASA, they think of space, discovery and, most importantly, science.
One thing they usually do not think about: U.S. Congressman Jim Bridenstine. Yet the Oklahoma Republican and past vocal climate-change skeptic could soon be acting NASA administrator.
Given Bridenstine’s lack of experience as a scientist or engineer, his nomination by President Donald Trump is a little puzzling. The president has shown a past flair for appointing poor-fitting Okies to positions of influence. We at Chicken-Fried News are still trying to figure how Scott Pruitt became the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief.
Bridenstine, appearing before a meeting of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, was grilled by legislators about his qualifications, particularly on his past skepticism of man’s role in global climate change, saying in 2013 that temperature changes mostly “correlate to sun output and global ocean cycles.”
As quoted in a Huffington Post account, Bridenstine took a slightly more moderate stance when questioned by the committee — emphasis on “slightly.”
“In some years, you could say, ‘Absolutely,’” Bridenstine said, responding to a question about the human role in global warming. “In other years, you know, during sun cycles and other things, there are other contributing factors that would have maybe more of an impact.”
If Trump insists on appointing an Oklahoma to this position, maybe he should turn his attention to another public figure. The state is home to several past astronauts. Perhaps Bethany-raised Shannon Lucid would like the role?
Then again, Trump could probably get more excited about a more star-powered appointment, given his past role as commander-in-chief of The Celebrity Apprentice. He should see if the Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne is available. He seems to know a lot about space.