Columbia native Charles Bolden met with the members of the U.S. Senate for confirmation hearings Wednesday and Thursday for the post of NASA Admnistrator. The current Marine COrps Major General told Senate members that if confirmed as NASA Chief he would focus not only on space exploration but studying the Earth as well. South Carolina Space Grant Consortium Director Dr. Mitchell Colgan says he has met with Charles Bolden on several occasions and he says he is a huge fan of the retired astronaut. Colgan says President Obama could not have made a better choice and he expects Bolden to be confirmed very soon as the new head of NASA.
“The President selected the right man to head up an agency which is facing some real difficulties right now and he has the history within NASA and the leadership ability to become an extremely effective leader with NASA. NASA has to make some important decisions in the future.”
Observers of NASA says the agency’s new leader will experience continued economic constraints, the retirement of the shuttle which will reQuire development of a new launch capability, and the long term goal of sending astronauts to distant worlds, such as Mars.
Colgan says the South Carolina Space Grant Consortium is one of 52 such consortiums in the country. Colgan says the Consortium provides scholarships for students interested in aerospace research. It also provides grant monies for graduate and as well as undergraduate research in the wide spectrum of sciences related to the various projects developed by NASA. Colgan says another improtant function of the consortium is the promotion of a strong science, mathematics, and technology base throughout all levels of education in South Carolina. Colgan says Boldenis a strong advocate of education.
“I’ve talked to him about the suject of science education and the role NASA plays in supporting K through 12 education and supporting undergraduate research at colleges in South Carolina and he is very supportive of all those topics.”
Colgan says there is no doubt in his mind that NASA will step up its efforts in the promotion of education under the leadership of Bolden.
Colgan says NASA has done a poor job over the last few years promoting the many projects they have engineered and letting people know that the agency does a lot more than just launch people into outer space. ” For example, our rovers are still moving on Mars and those types of robot explorations are spectacular. Up until recently one of the things that NASA has done that is really overlooked is its great contributions to understanding earth Science and understanding the oceans and global change and its amazing satellite capabilities.”
Colgan says Bolden would add a fresh, popular face to NASA at a time it sorely needs strong and visible leadership.