Romney: America Must 'Define a Mission' for Space Program
6:05 PM, Jan 27, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Cape Canaveral, Fla.
“People are suffering because of that. We’ve lost technology because of that. People have lost jobs because of that. It’s time to have a mission for the space program for the United States of America,” Romney said, speaking just minutes away from the Kennedy Space Center.
But Romney's definition of his own plans for the space program was vague, and he took a veiled shot at GOP rival Newt Gingrich’s recent promises in nearby Cocoa that the United Sates should strive to build a “permanent base” on the surface of the moon.
“In the politics of the past, to get your vote in the Space Coast, I’d come here and promise hundreds of billions of dollars,” Romney said. “Or I’d lay out what my mission is, here’s what we’re going to accomplish. I’m not going to do that. I know that’s somewhat attractive, very popular, but it’s simply the wrong thing to do. It’s not the best decision to make.”
So how would his White House formulate its mission for the space program? Romney takes a “listen to the troops on the ground” approach to the issue. Here’s his explanation:
Romney also laid out the broad objectives of an American space program: commercial, defense, and “existential.” Romney explained the latter of those objectives. “There are things going out there in the universe that could dramatically affect the earth [and] our climate, perhaps even a catastrophic event of some kind,” he said. “So going out and finding those things and preparing possible responses—that’s an important thing.”