Outside the Circle News

Sarah Groft, Staff Reporter

Glenn wants Americans to travel to the moon

Monday, Feb. 20 marked the 50th anniversary of NASA’s first flight into space. John Glenn, a former astronaut and Ohio senator, spoke at the recent NASA Future Forum at Ohio State University. According to The Plain Dealer, Glenn commented, “I think we are the world’s greatest space-faring nation.”

He also said that “with the end of the space shuttle program last year, the United States must pay the Russian space program roughly $60 million each time an American astronaut hitches a ride to the International Space Station.” This suggests that Glenn and other members of NASA believe the U.S. should return to space.

Charles Bolden, the NASA administrator, also attended the forum. Glenn made sure to point out that Bolden was not responsible for America’s diminished presence in space, but that he simply inherited the situation.

Glenn appeared to blame Presidents Bush and Obama for the situation. He reprimanded the administration for coming up with the idea to go to the moon or Mars and then canceling the shuttle program in 2004. Simultaneously, Glenn commended the current administration for putting more funds toward designing and building spacecraft.

Ray Lugo, the director of the NASA Glenn Research Center, commented that the money put toward the spacecraft has already been used to develop a heavy-lift booster-rocket system and a multipurpose crew vehicle. Both are expected to fly in 2017, and crewed flights are expected by 2020.

Bolden, a former astronaut and Marine aviator, was asked “how the space agency could deal with changing priorities every time the country changes presidents.” He responded that flexible architecture is the key. The newly developed spacecraft will be able to adapt and evolve as new technology is introduced.

Glenn spoke about the significance of space exploration, which was supported by Dr. Serena Aunon, a medical doctor, flight surgeon, and astronaut candidate. Aunon said that research done in zero-gravity environments has allowed scientists to develop a new way to make sterile water. Glenn also spoke of robotic exploration and its implications for unmanned missions.


DeWine changes mind, endorses Santorum

Mike DeWine, Ohio Attorney General and former U.S. Senator, switched his presidential endorsement from Mitt Romney to Rick Santorum on Friday, Feb. 17. DeWine’s high-profile endorsement was accompanied by a critique of Romney’s candidacy. He commented, “To be elected President, you have to do more than tear down your opponent. You have to give the American people a reason to vote for you, a reason to hope, a reason to believe that under your leadership, America will be better. Rick Santorum has done that. Sadly, Gov. Romney has not.”

DeWine also said that Romney has shown an “astounding inability to provide voters with rationale to support him.” The change of endorsement allowed Santorum to increase his lead against Romney in the Midwest primaries. Romney was already behind Santorum in both Michigan and Ohio. However, the winds could change once TV advertising against Santorum begins.

Romney’s campaign insiders argue that the reason DeWine changed his endorsement was because Romney’s super-PAC ad critiqued Santorum for being in favor of allowing rehabilitated felons, a point that DeWine advocated while in the Senate. Romney supporters had also attacked DeWine for “supporting current Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s appellate court appointments,” which some of Romney’s other surrogates also support.

John Sununu, a former New Hampshire governor and a supporter of Romney, said, “The most important thing you can get from an endorser is their organization. Frankly, from what I understand, attorney generals don’t have much of a political organization.” Sununu also said that Romney will not be changing any part of his political formula.