Today, the Orlando Sentinel reports that President Obama will introduce a budget next week which will cut future exploration funding from NASA, including the planned missions to the Moon and Mars set in motion following the Columbia disaster.  On first glance, this may appear to be a budget cutting move to fall in line with the drop-in-a-bucket spending freeze Obama has proposed. But it isn’t.  In fact, NASA’s budget is increasing.  So if NASA’s budget is increasing, why are exploration plans being put on hold? Obama is halting America’s exploration of the unknown so we can explore…global warming.

According the Sentinel: “…the White House will direct NASA to concentrate on Earth-science projects — principally, researching and monitoring climate change.” NASA will reportedly receive a budget increase of $200-$300 million over its current $18.7 billion budget.

But for the first time in his administration, government money does not actually equate to government jobs. “One administration official said the budget will send a message that it’s time members of Congress recognize that NASA can’t design space programs to create jobs in their districts. ‘That’s the view of the president,’ the official said.” So this is actually a jobs-cutting outlay.

President Obama spent the better part of 2009 growing the size of government despite record job losses in the private sector. While unemployment rose above 10%, the number of federal, state and local government union employees rose by 64,000 in 2009. The view of the President, as demonstrated by his actions, is that the government is precisely designed to create jobs in member’s districts. So is the real reason for this shift in focus?

The real reason is that liberals have long viewed NASA as a global warming research entity rather than the exploration agency that President John F. Kennedy ably set on a course for the stars. And this is despite the recent discoveries that NASA’s global warming leaders, such as James Hansen, may have been manipulating data to suit their political needs for some time. While exploration enthusiasts wanted to see rockets lift for the heavens, environmentalists wanted to see satellites watching ice caps.  President Obama will most likely face stiff congressional opposition from both sides of the aisle if he continues on this path towards charging NASA with a purely Earth science mission.