What Does the NASA Advisory Committee Actually Do?

Keith's note: I had planned on listening in on the NASA Advisory Council's Education and Public Outreach Subcommittee meeting today via Webex. But I changed my mind and decided that it would be a waste of time - time better spent on doing real work (and cleaning out my garage). I am not sure that what the NAC or any of its subcommittees does or says actually matters in any significant way. NASA clearly ignores them. The NAC is actually rather passive (more so than ever in the past) and never actually says anything strategic or insightful. And they never, ever push NASA hard on the things that are clearly screwed up. Indeed, all the NACsters ever say is "nice job", "what would you do with a bigger budget?", "thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit with us", or "there's a typo on your chart". Check the calendar on the right for their other meetings over the coming days. Or not. Yawn.

Keith's update: Let me add that the new NAC Chair, Steve Squyres should be a breath of fresh air. He is an explorer's explorer and, contrary to a lot of NAC members, he does not dwell behind a desk or reflexively seek a TV camera. Instead he goes to remote and dangerous places to explore and to make sure that the Mars rovers that he helps to build will be able to do their job. Whether he can inpsire his fellow NACsters to show a little spine and advise NASA in a more pointed and strategic fashion remains to be seen. I wish him luck.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on March 5, 2012 6:22 PM.

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