Scientist Michio Kaku warns: Ted Cruz overseeing NASA is 'like having the fox guard the chicken coop'
Ted Cruz speaks to reporters on Oct. 16, 2013. [MSNBC]

A physics professor and author told MSNBC host Ed Schultz on Wednesday that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has the potential to do serious damage to NASA now that he's in charge of the Senate subcommittee overseeing its budget.

"It's like having the fox guard the chicken coop," CUNY New York professor Michio Kaku said. "Don't be surprised if all you have left are chicken bones."

Cruz, a climate change skeptic, was appointed to lead the Space, Science and Competitiveness subcommittee following the Senate shift to Republican control last November.

"You think the scientific community is concerned about this?" Schultz asked Kaku. "I mean, you've got to have funding to do things, and to be innovative, and to move forward in research."

"Science is the engine of prosperity. The wealth, the jobs of the world are dependent upon science," Kaku replied. "It's the goose that laid the golden egg. But if you kill the goose, don't be surprised if wealth, jobs, innovation, competitiveness go out the window because of ideology."

Kaku also suggested that Cruz could be driven by not only ideology, but looking out for his home state in his new position.

"He could allow the manned space program to go forward, because the Houston Space Center is based in Texas, after all," he said. "On the other hand, he may decrease the funding for investigation of the atmosphere. In other words, global warming. We need the data in order to predict how hot the Earth will get into the future."

Restricting funding on climate studies, Kaku further warned, could have an impact on the upcoming presidential campaign.

"If the budget is cut, we're gonna be going blind," he said. "We're not gonna know which way the atmosphere is going, and then it's strictly a question of political football as to how the presidential candidates align on this question. We have to have data. That's the bottom line."

Watch the interview, as aired on Wednesday on MSNBC, below.