According to NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, President Obama has asked NASA to "find ways to reach out to dominantly Muslim countries," in a push to make the agency a tool of international diplomacy.
The Orlando Sentinel reports:
Canceling the Constellation program already threatens to put the U.S. behind countries like China and Russia. When did Kennedy's once undeterred vision of American space exploration transform into Obama's plan for an international science "welfare" program? When did NASA become a tool of diplomacy and an extended arm of the EPA?
“In addition to the nations that most of you usually hear about when you think about the International Space Station, we now have expanded our efforts to reach out to non-traditional partners,” said Bolden, speaking to a lecture hall of young engineering students.
Specifically, he talked about connecting with countries that do not have an established space program and helping them conduct science missions. He mentioned new opportunities with Indonesia, including an educational program that examines global climate change.