Griffin Tries to Take On "Science Vs Exploration"

Science and NASA - Speech by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin

"So now lets move on to "respect". Once the Vision for Space Exploration was announced, the science community immediately said, as if with once voice, "Robotic science is exploration too!" Besides, 'exploration without science is tourism'! No more 'flags and footprints'!" ... I'm sure you've heard all of this and more. Since the science community had never previously characterized their work in terms of "exploration", many observers concluded that the theme underlying these view was, more cynically, "Don't cut our budget to pay for human spaceflight!"

Exploring the Possibilities: Earth and Space Science Missions in the Context of Exploration, IEEE

"According to Dr. Edward J. Weiler, Director of the Goddard Space Flight Center, 'Exploration without science is tourism".

Editor's note: Mike, it is curious how you use one of your Center Director's long standing favorite quotes in a way that makes that Center Director look like he is now part of the problem...

Reader note: "Robotic science isn't exploration? It seems to me that one of the most successful lines of robotic missions being squeezed by the current budget situation is the EXPLORER line. And oh, by the way, wasn't it EXPLORER 1 which provided the US it's first venture into space?"

Reader note: "Hi Keith: Checking the National Academy of Sciences website, the word "exploration" was first used in the title of a Space Science Board Report in [wait for it...] 1964:

"Biology and the Exploration of Mars Summary and Conclusions of a Study by the Space Science Board"

At least 3 SSB reports in the 1960's used "Exploration" in their title. So much for the Administrator's assertion that "Since the science community had never previously characterized their work in terms of "exploration"..."

"But it is another thing entirely to suggest that "the community" has an inherent right to review and modify our annual budget. To me, one of the most disturbing aspects of this practice is that the very same people who stand to benefit from particular distributions of NASA funding would be advising NASA as to what those distributions ought to be."

Editor's note: Mike - just where do you expect to get qualified scientific advice if none of it can come from people who are the recipients of government funding?

"But that's all there are. There are no other standing committees or interested parties required or permitted to review and advise NASA, no other group whose recommendations should be thoughtfully evaluated and to which the Agency must respond. Now, all of you know that there are many, many individuals and groups whose interests are affected by NASA programs and decisions, and who believe that they deserve "a seat at the table" in helping to shape such decisions. But there is no foundation for such a belief."

Editor's note: Um, these people are taxpayers, Mike. You are spending their tax dollars.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on September 12, 2006 3:47 PM.

OIG on Procurement Practices at JSC was the previous entry in this blog.

Disconnect Between Griffin and Boehlert Over CEV is the next entry in this blog.

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