As part of its 2007 budget proposal submitted on February 6, NASA eliminated the phrase “to understand and protect our home planet” from its mission statement; a move that alarmed several NASA employees. Unlike the 2002 changes to the NASA mission statement that included an open process across the agency, this decision was made by NASA Headquarters without consulting NASA employees or scientists. David E. Steitz, the NASA spokesperson, said that the quiet change is indicative of the top-down decision-making employed by recently appointed NASA Director Michael Griffin and does not demonstrate “any mal-intent or idea of exclusion.” According to Steitz, the change aligns NASA with President Bush’s goal of human flight to the moon and the mars and any connection to comments made by Dr. James E. Hansen is “pure coincidence.” Dr. Hansen frequently quoted the “understand and protect” portion of the mission statement when speaking out about threats he received from political appointees following his public warnings about greenhouse gas emissions. The mission statement plays a central role in shaping NASA decisions causing concern among NASA employees for the future of terrestrial projects including climate change.