Policy: August 2012 Archives

Are you considering increasing funds to the space program?, Reddit

President Obama: "Making sure we stay at the forefront of space exploration is a big priority for my administration. The passing of Neil Armstrong this week is a reminder of the inspiration and wonder that our space program has provided in the past; the curiosity probe on mars is a reminder of what remains to be discovered. The key is to make sure that we invest in cutting edge research that can take us to the next level - so even as we continue work with the international space station, we are focused on a potential mission to a asteroid as a prelude to a manned Mars flight."

Seeking Inputs on NASA's Plans, Programs and Priorities, open.NASA

"In the FY2012 appropriations bill that funds NASA, Congress requested an independent study of NASA's strategic direction. The study is being conducted by a committee of the National Research Council. The study statement of task directs the committee to "recommend how NASA could establish and effectively communicate a common, unifying vision for NASA's strategic direction that encompasses NASA's varied missions." Strategic direction can be thought of as the steps NASA needs to take over time to accomplish its vision and mission."

Space Policy Snapshots

Can NASA keep public's curiosity piqued?, Houston Chronicle

"Paul Spudis, a senior scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, said Curiosity's success doesn't change the fact that the agency is still looking for a vision. "It's tangential to the agency's fundamental problem - where is it going and why?" Spudis asked. "Since (2010) NASA has been floundering in strategic aimlessness and national irrelevance. Only the momentum of existing programs started long ago, like the International Space Station and Mars Science Laboratory, are keeping it alive at all."

Editorial: Curiosity rover critics shortsighted, USA Today

"Those who would slash space program budgets apparently haven't learned history's lessons and don't see the great possibilities that the future presents -- possibilities reflected in every image transmitted back from the rover."

Editorial: NASA scientists nail gold medal Mars dismount, Ventura Star

"President Barack Obama, who has been accused by Republicans of being insufficiently ardent about "American exceptionalism," called the landing an "unprecedented feat of technology that will stand as a point of national pride far into the future."

Focus Charlie. Focus.

NASA chief: U.S. won't go it alone on manned Mars mission

"U.S. astronauts won't land on Mars by themselves but with international partners in the 2030s, NASA's chief said Wednesday. "I have no desire to do a Mars landing on our own," Bolden said. "The U.S. cannot always be the leader, but we can be the inspirational leader through international cooperation" in space exploration. Obama administration plans are for the $17.7 billion space agency to land an astronaut on an asteroid in 2025, then go to Mars by the middle of the 2030s."

Keith's note: Given these time frames - "2025, middle 2030s", no one presently working in the White House or on the 9th floor of NASA Headquarters will be in a position to implement - or even do the initial planning for - a human mission to Mars. Indeed, for missions more than a decade or two in the future, they will have little if any impact on what is or is not done. As such, this commentary by Charlie Bolden is simply pointless - including his "desires". Charlie Bolden needs to focus more on the near future where he can actually have some impact.

As for Bolden's statement that "The U.S. cannot always be the leader", gee, that sounds preemptively defeatist. Why bother trying? If Bolden is already thinking that way, then all this future stuff he pontificates about is really beyond his influence. Time for a leadership reboot.


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