It was meant to be an armchair discussion with Bill Nye “The Science Guy” on budget investments in Canadian innovation, particularly science. However, while mainstream media picked up on the political query related to the Kinder Morgan pipeline program at the end of the session, what they didn’t pick up on was the not-so-subtle poke Nye made about the space program.
Bill Nye, who is popularly known as “The Science Guy” from the PBS children’s science show which ran from 1993-1998, is now the CEO of the Planetary Society, the U.S. based non-profit space advocacy organization.
During yesterday’s armchair discussion Nye used the opportunity to takes a couple not-so-subtle pokes at the government support of the space program.
He had been talking about space when he then opened his wallet to pull out a “fiver”, the Canadian five dollar bill which depicts the Canadarm2, Dextre and an astronaut in a space suit. As he’s talking about it he says of the space program, “you celebrate the space program, which was, you used to” and then goes on to to say “the Canadian Space Agency used to be, or is, really involved in every space mission around the world” and “I really encourage Canadians to pursue space, invest in space, because it leads to innovation.”
To which the Prime Minister responded “well, not only do I agree, but uh we just appointed a new Governor General, one of Canada’s great astronauts, Julie Payette who” … “is focused on leading the charge in space, in science.” And then the Prime Minister brought the conversation back around to science. The last time I checked the Governor General did not make policy and is not involved with funding. You can watch the full video below and we’ve set it to start at the point Nye starts talking about the five dollar bill and the space program.
Nye though, had made his point. And it wasn’t the only point the Planetary society made. Coincidentally, the day before the event, the Planetary Society published an article on the budget, What does the 2018 Canadian federal budget mean for space?, which was listed in our newsletter yesterday.
The article was written by Kate Howells, who is the Planetary Society’s Global Community Outreach Manager and who also happens to be on Space Advisory Board. In the article, she says of the budget “we were disappointed. Space was absent from the budget outlines. No grand new space strategy, and no additional funding for ambitious new projects. After more than a year of high hopes, there is no daring new vision for Canada in space.”
The Planetary Society is one of the only space organizations out there who are publicly talking about the budget.