Close this search box.

Skeptical Former NASA scientist defends new chief Bridenstine as ‘trying to diffuse what is essentially a non-mission-critical issue’

Image result for tom wysmuller
By way of background:  I’m ex-NASA from the Apollo era, and my unique job exposed me to all facets of the Agency.  After the Moon landings, I landed at Pratt & Whitney, then on to Insurance company turnarounds and a stint as Board Chairman of Delta Dental of NY.  When I took over we were the best in the world, and at the end of my term, we were better!  The managerial skill set I acquired at NASA has served me well, along with a bias towards directed mission orientation. 
Now for Bridenstine:  “Turncoat” is designed to be pejorative – much as the epithet “Denier” as it is generally applied to climate realists.  Both are equally offensively inappropriate. 
I believe Jim Bridenstine was trying to diffuse what is essentially a non-mission-critical issue, as the Potomac estuary will not inundate NASA Headquarters anytime soon, or within anyone’s lifetime either.  NASA is an agency far different than the one I worked in during the Apollo days, and the challenge Jim faces will be getting it back to a no-nonsense, measured and validated data orientation.  Catastrophic SLR and runaway temperature rise is part of the nonsense, and he will be very wise to systematically sidestep it for the short term.  
In fact, he’s entered a proverbial hornet’s nest without a smoke pot and his best strategy will be to methodically let the NASA “hive” settle down.  There is much to do there, Major Mission Critical Work (repeat three times), and having a climate-oriented disruption during his first few months is not in his, or the nation’s, best interest.  My guess is that he intelligently quickly read the “lay of the land” and is acting accordingly. 
He has his hands full and they need to rapidly wrap around things that really matter.  Guess what:  Climate isn’t one of them, but things like developing a rational manned space program and launch (& return) capability along with developing CIS Lunar Space most certainly is. Re-transitioning NASA back to its role as a fountainhead of technology development for the Nation and the World should be added to the list.  Ending reliance on unpublished models for policy recommendations?  That belongs there too! 
There are more things that I won’t bother to list here – many more in fact, but one thing is abundantly clear:  Of all the choices that President Trump could have made to run the Agency, he has chosen Jim Bridenstine brilliantly, and I see Jim Bridenstine’s star rising brightly as he returns NASA to greatness.  I know many who stand ready to help him achieve it and I most assuredly believe it will happen.
Tom Wysmuller