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NASA's Questionable Russian Invitation Rescinded After Uproar

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The world at large has been focused skyward often this week, as space-based stories have arrived in droves.

First, there was news that a team of Chinese scientists have landed on the dark side of our moon – something that has never been done before in the history of mankind.

China’s burgeoning space program achieved a lunar milestone on Thursday: landing a probe on the mysterious and misnamed “dark” side of the moon.

Exploring the cosmos from that far side of the moon, which people can’t see from Earth, could eventually help scientists learn more about the early days of the solar system and maybe even the birth of the universe’s first stars.

Three nations — the United States, the former Soviet Union and more recently China — all have sent spacecraft to the side of the moon that faces Earth, but this landing is the first on the far side. That side has been observed many times from lunar orbit, but never up close.

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Then, of course, there was the startling revelation that a distant galaxy is hurtling toward our own and threatens to annihilate all life on earth in about 2 billion years.

Now, NASA is in hot water after a proposed speaking engagement with a currently sanctioned Russian National had to be canceled.

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine extended an October invitation for his counterpart, Dmitry Rogozin, to visit NASA headquarters in Houston in early 2019. U.S.-Russia space cooperation is nothing new. But Rogozin is no typical rocket-science technocrat. He is an ultranationalist politician with a record of stark racism and homophobia who is under American sanctions, which typically bar him from entering the U.S. over his 2014 role, as deputy prime minister, in Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.

Bridenstine, a former GOP congressman whose nomination to lead NASA never really made any sense, invited the controversial Russian with a history of anti-American rhetoric to speak at Rice University, the NASA director’s alma mater. The news was first reported in Russia’s state news agency.

Evelyn Farkas, the former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia in the Obama administration, told Politico the invitation is “appalling,” adding, “It’s utterly inappropriate given who he is and the fact that he is on our sanctions list.”

In the wake of the controversy, NASA has postponed the meeting indefinitely.


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About the Author:
As a lifelong advocate for the dream promised us in the Constitution, Andrew West has spent his years authoring lush prose editorial dirges regarding America's fall from grace and her path back to prosperity. When West isn't railing against the offensive whims of the mainstream media or the ideological cruelty that is so rampant in the US, he spends his time seeking adventurous new food and fermented beverages, with the occasional round of golf peppered in.