Editor's note: The following email was sent to various members of the media and has been making the rounds.
From: Louis Friedman
Date: 18 November 2008 06:41:56 GMT
To: LUNAR-L@LISTSERV.ND.EDU, Harrison H. Schmitt
Cc: [MEDIA, etc.]
Subject: Senator Schmitt's Resignation from The Planetary Society
We received Jack Schmitt's open letter to us, "Resignation from [The Planetary] Society." which he has now distributed more widely. Because we think that our agreement is much stronger than our disagreement, we are asking him to reconsider:
Jack - Despite this current "dust-up," you are one of us. Because I worked with you when you were a Senator on a very bi-partisan NASA Authorizing Committee, I know you are a supporter of inclusiveness - and we in the space community are too small to be productively fragmented.
We share with you strong support for human exploration beyond Earth orbit and human and robotic exploration of space. We share with you support for a lunar step to Mars - if NASA says they must build up their capability for sending humans to Mars by practice steps on the Moon, we certainly can't disagree. More fundamentally we have supported the Vision for Space Exploration ever since its proposal in 2004. We share with you support for building the replacement to the space shuttle and extending human transportation capability beyond low Earth orbit. We share with you support for studying and observing the Earth to understand processes that contribute to global climate change - whatever the cause of such changes. And we even share with you support for strong American leadership and capability to advance human space exploration beyond Earth orbit.
The disagreements we have (even the strong ones) are of less importance than these things which we share. These include disagreements on exactly what activity to do on the Moon, other steps that might be inserted in the sequence for human space flight, and whether American leadership can be exercised in a way that the world will be excited to follow. This is why we ask you to reconsider your statement of resignation. We represent public interest in space exploration - and thus we represent even those who disagree with some of the details in the Roadmap. I really think there is less disagreement than some imagine and urge everyone with whom you have communicated to take 15 minutes and read the Roadmap: http://planetary.org/home/
Dr. Louis Friedman
Executive Director, The Planetary Society