Policy: September 2015 Archives

Keith's note: In April 2015 the Planetary Society held an invitation-only "Humans Orbiting Mars" workshop wherein they unveiled their idea for a mission to Mars. At a quick press conference after the event (no media were allowed to attend the workshop) the Planetary Society promised more detail would be made public - later. It has been 6 months. Nothing but crickets from the Planetary Society. A paper was published by some of the people behind the plan but no one has ever said if this paper bears any relevance to what the Planetary Society wants to do. They said there would be a document released but it has never materialized. The space advocacy community loves to talk behind closed doors inside their echo chamber. But when it comes to making the details available to the rest of us they continually fail to deliver. But they continue to send out those fundraising pleas in the mail, don't they? Caveat emptor.

Oh yes - the first crewed mission of SLS (which seems to play a role in the plan) has been delayed by 2 years - thus pushing everything back.

- Stealthy Humans Orbiting Mars Workshop Update, earlier post
- Making Space Policy In Secret (Again), earlier post
- Good News Everyone: Another Closed Door Humans to Mars Thing, earlier post
- Quick: Read The Planetary Society Mars Plan While It Is Free, earlier post

How We Go to Mars, op ed, Rick Tumlinson, Space News

"So what do we do? As many of these approaches are viable, we must go back to the Why? to begin culling out the dead ends. Since a notable group of space leaders at the 2015 Pioneering Space Summit agreed settlement is the goal and science is something you get if you do settlement (the reverse does not apply), I will adopt that assertion as my standard in the process of elimination."

Keith's note: Yet another word salad op ed about going to Mars - this time from Rick Tumlinson, one of the usual suspects in space advocacy community. The author asks dozens of questions yet does not answer a single one. The last sentence of this rambling piece was all that Tumlinson probably needed to say to get his point across.

Tumlinson and his New World Institute had all the space advocates in Washington all pumped up for his "Pioneering Space National Summit" event in February 2015. No media were allowed in. If one were to believe all of the pre-game hype, discussions were to be had amongst the pillars of the space community, and momentous statements intended to break the deadlock and propel us all into space were to be issued. As I noted in June 2015, 4 months after the event "Checking the website there seems to be little in the way of output - just two documents only a couple of pages long that are mostly semi-edited meeting notes/outlines: Report: Deliberation #1 - Vision (Group A) and Report: Deliberation #2 - Strategy (Group A). Two other documents are apparently being edited. That's it?" Nothing has changed. Its as if nothing happened.

But wait - there's more - now the same New Worlds Institute that provided none of the promised space policy goodies from Pioneering Space National Summit is holding New Worlds 2015 in October 2015 an event with the usual suspects which claims to be "the first comprehensive gathering of the people, companies and institutions that will open space to human development and settlement". I have seen meetings like this every 3 years for the past 40 years. L-5 people used to talk like this in the 1970s.

These events accomplish nothing. Why not just take all the money that goes into running them and just buy cubesat launches and put real space technology in the hands of the next generation instead of enabling this endless stream of pointless blabber from all of us middle-aged tired space advocates?

Choir practice in an echo chamber - that's all these events are.

- Pioneering Space National Summit: So Far, Nothing But Crickets
- Yet Another Plan For Outer Space, earlier post
- Pioneering Space National Summit Details Emerge, earlier post
- Alliance for Space Development: Yawn - Yet Another Space Group, earlier post
- space Advocates Work Together By Not Working Together, earlier post
- Move Along. This Is Not The Space Policy You're Looking For., earlier post

Marc's note: It's election season north of the border with Canada heading to the polls to elect a new federal government on Monday, October 19th. Rarely does space enter the election picture. This year is different. In the last week one news story with national reach and an editorial have put space on the election map.

The Canadian Space Commerce Association, of which I'm the Executive Director, issued a press release two days after the election was called calling on all federal parties to commit to a long-term space plan to be completed by the end of 2016 with input from all stakeholders. The three main parties who have a chance to form the next government were contacted along with the media. The Canadian Press (Canada's equivalent to the AP) picked up on the story.

The good news is that the Liberals and New Democratic Party (NDP) have both committed to a long-term space plan. The ruling Conservatives had no comment. Here's the first story.

Liberals and NDP promise long-term space plan if elected, Canadian Press

The other news item is an editorial which appeared in yesterday's Ottawa Citizen from David Emerson who led a government mandated independent national review of the aerospace sector in 2012. Emerson is highly respected and a former government Cabinet Minister.

Emerson: Let's reclaim our status as a leading spacefaring nation

"The next, most critical stage will be a concrete plan for long-term investments in space infrastructure. Such a plan would include commitments to space investment priorities reflecting the needs of Canada, the operational objectives of government departments and agencies, and Canada's industrial capabilities."

The election result will determine which direction Canada heads. If the current Conservative government is re-elected the current course will be maintained which may not be a positive sign. If either of the opposition parties win, then positive change should happen.

A Look at What the Public Knows and Does Not Know About Science, Pew Research

"Fully 73% of Americans distinguish between astronomy and what is commonly considered a pseudoscience: astrology. Twenty-two percent of Americans incorrectly say that astronomy not astrology is the study of how the positions of stars and planets can influence human behavior. Another 5% give some other incorrect response."

Major Gaps Between the Public, Scientists on Key Issues, Pew Research

- "Astronauts are essential for the future of the U.S. space program": 59% of the public agrees whereas only 47% of AAAS members agree.
- "The Space Station has been a good investment for the U.S.": 64% of the public agrees while 68% of AAAS members agree.

- Recent Space Poll: The Public is Not Always in Synch With Space Advocates, earlier post
- Poll: Space Travel in the 21st Century: American Public Sees Benefits But Balks at Cost, earlier post
- Poll Suggests Public Concern Over Direction In Space, earlier post
- New Gallup Poll Reveals Americans Strongly Support Space Exploration, Believe it Inspires Younger Generation, earlier post

Annual Invitation for Public Nominations by US Citizens for Service on NASA Federal Advisory Committees

"NASA announces its annual invitation for public nominations for service on NASA Federal advisory committees. U.S. citizens may submit self-nominations for consideration as potential members of NASA's Federal advisory committees. NASA's Federal advisory committees have member vacancies from time to time throughout the year, and NASA will consider self-nominations to fill such intermittent vacancies. NASA is committed to selecting members to serve on its Federal advisory committees based on their individual expertise, knowledge, experience, and current/past contributions to the relevant subject area."



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