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Mars, Orion Spacecraft, NASA, NOAA Spotlighted in State of the Union

January 21st, 2015
Credit: White House

Credit: White House

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly stands as he is recognized by President Barack Obama, while First lady Michelle Obama, front left, and other guest applaud, during the State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Jan. 20, 2015. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly stands as he is recognized by President Barack Obama, while First lady Michelle Obama, front left, and other guest applaud, during the State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Jan. 20, 2015. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

U.S. President Barack Obama delivered the State of the Union before Congress on January 20th.

Within that address, Obama noted the first launch of the Orion spacecraft as part of a “re-energized” American space program that will send American astronauts to the Red Planet. In addition, the U.S. President acknowledged the upcoming year-long mission of astronaut Scott Kelly, who was in the audience at the State of the Union.

Obama also remarked that 2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record, citing the contributions to understand climate change within NASA, NOAA and at universities.

Re-energized space program

Here are those remarks by President Obama as prepared for delivery:

“I want Americans to win the race for the kinds of discoveries that unleash new jobs — converting sunlight into liquid fuel; creating revolutionary prosthetics, so that a veteran who gave his arms for his country can play catch with his kid; pushing out into the Solar System not just to visit, but to stay. Last month, we launched a new spacecraft as part of a re-energized space program that will send American astronauts to Mars. In two months, to prepare us for those missions, Scott Kelly will begin a year-long stay in space. Good luck, Captain — and make sure to Instagram it.”

Earth’s changing climate

“2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record. Now, one year doesn’t make a trend, but this does — 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century.”

“I’ve heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists; that we don’t have enough information to act. Well, I’m not a scientist, either. But you know what — I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities. The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe. The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it.”

By Leonard David