Editor's note: The following selection is repeated - verbatim - from an ongoing "Ask the Administrator" dialog with Mike Griffin, located on InsideNASA, and can be viewed by anyone at NASA:
Question(s): I don't understand why congress want give NASA the full budget, so NASA can continue progessing towards the next generation of Space Exploration ... my question is let commcials and sponsors to get involved with our support to meet our budget cost. They pay millions on NFL GAMES T.V. commercials ... and NASCAR RACES...ETC. What's wrong with NASA RACING To Other Plantes. We have contractor doing the work, let's contract some sponsors to pay us to help advertise. Just a thought... Thanks From:Don Hanselman,Johnson Space Center
Response (on 06-Apr-2007): I've addressed variants of this question before, but will take one more whack at it. Bottom line, U.S. government activities are funded by Congressional appropriations from the Treasury, through taxpayer revenues. Private or commercial sponsors are not normally solicited to assist with publicly funded enterprises. If private entities wish to sponsor any of the numerous space entrepreneurs to develop commercial space capabilities - and I hope they do - that is entirely their own concern. Thus, Congress makes, and will continue to make, its decisions concerning the government-funded U.S. space program. I hope they will continue to see it as worthy of such funding, but in any case it is not a matter for private sponsorship.