Policy: July 2016 Archives

Keith's note: More than two months ago I posted news that NASA Advisory Council chair Steve Squyres had sent an email to the NAC and to NASA resigning as chair of the NAC. NASA never publicly announced Squyres' departure, never publicly thanked him for his service, etc. How creepy is that?. Now we quietly find out that Ken Bowersox is the "interim chair" of the NAC. Again, no public announcement from NASA. Who cares, I guess.

There is a meeting planned for next week 28-29 July in Cleveland. Charlie Bolden is on constant travel - often international - doing a victory lap/farewell tour - with Dava Newman doing much the same (other than photo ops that's all she has ever really done at NASA). As such, one has to ask what value-added the NAC has these days since there is no one home on the 9th floor at NASA HQ to pay attention to the NAC.

NASA Advisory Council Chair Steve Squyres Resigns, earlier post

COSPAR Assembly in Istanbul Cancelled

"The most recent events in Istanbul, involving a coup from a faction of the national army against the Turkish government on 15 July, require us to cancel the 41st COSPAR Assembly. This is a difficult and sad decision, taken in consultation with the Executive Director of the COSPAR Secretariat and in consideration of the advice spontaneously expressed by several Bureau and Council members as well as COSPAR officers and Main Scientific event Organizers. It also reflects the sense of responsibilities of the President, Bureau and Secretariat of COSPAR."

NASA-sponsored Travel to 41st Committee on Space Research Scientific Assembly in Istanbul, Turkey, NASA

"The Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) is holding its 41st Scientific Assembly in Istanbul, Turkey, from July 30 to August 7, 2016. As with previous meetings of this biennial international conference, a significant number of NASA employees and contractors have made tentative plans to attend including representatives from your organization. However, based on current US. Department of State guidance regarding offical travel to Turkey, the Administrator has determined that the Agency will not sponsor or process travel for the 2016 COSPAR conference in Istanbul by NASA civil servants or contractors, including those at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory."

Obama's top scientist talks shrinking budgets, Donald Trump, and his biggest regret, Nature

"[John Holdren]: We knew when we came in that we had to rebalance NASA, and we had a committee chaired by Norm Augustine that looked at the space programme and declared that Constellation [NASA's human space-flight effort] was "unexecutable". And that report informed what we did to scale Constellation way back. We still have an Orion multi-purpose space capsule. We still have the Space Launch System, a heavy-lift rocket, under development. But we scaled them back to the point that there was enough money to revitalize Earth observation, to revitalize planetary science, to revitalize robotic exploration, to think about new missions."

Juno was a success- but there is precious little coming after it, Ars Technica

"There are some fairly big whoppers in there, so let's unpack the response. It is absolutely true that the president convened the Augustine panel, and in the wake of the panel's report, tried to scale Constellation back. However, when Congress objected, the Obama administration folded. In the last full year before Obama took office, fiscal year 2008, the agency spent $3.3 billion on exploration, which included Constellation. In fiscal year 2016, the agency will spend $4.0 billion on similar programs. It is not clear how a 21 percent budget increase can be considered scaling back NASA's human exploration program. Moreover, when Obama assumed office, Constellation's initial exploration aim was the Moon - an aim the Augustine report found to be "unsustainable." Now NASA's stated goal is to send humans to Mars- the so-called "Journey to Mars"- which is an order of magnitude more difficult both from an engineering and fiscal standpoint. In this sense, NASA's goals have become more unexecutable, not less."

- Preserving The Status Quo For The Journey To Nowhere, earlier post
- #JourneyToMars Via #ReturnToTheMoon, earlier post
- Previous exploration posts


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