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Election 2004

Presidential Candidates on Space and Science

By Keith Cowing
NASA Watch
October 13, 2004

14 October 2004: Debate: The Aerospace Platform of the Presidential Candidates

Representing the Kerry Campaign position: Lori Garver
Representing the Bush Campaign position: Frank Sietzen (co-author with the editor of NASA Watch of “New Moon Rising”)

Election 2004 (previous NASA Watch postings)

29 July 2004: Kerry Space Advisor Dismisses Bush Space Policy

“The Bush initiative is simply hot-air and has made it impossible in an election year for Kerry to say much on space … It took Bush 3.5 years and a tragic Shuttle accident to come up with a policy. Democrats will be able to pull-off a better record — if not rhetoric!” [Lori Garver]

7 October 2004: AIP FYI #135: Scientists and Political Involvement

7 October 2004: AIP FYI #134: Presidential Candidates on Science Issues

8 October 2004: Presidential Candidates Speak Out on Science Policies, Physics Today

9. Space policy: “NASA is being reorganized to reflect the president’s long-term vision of manned missions to the Moon and Mars. Many scientists believe the reorganization will drain money from NASA’s unmanned science missions. How do you define the relative importance of unmanned science missions versus manned exploration flights? What is the appropriate funding balance between the two?”

Bush In January, I announced my vision for the future of America’s space exploration program. Achieving this vision will require the combined strengths of both manned and unmanned science missions. Robotic missions will serve as trailblazers the advanced guard to the unknown. Probes, landers, and other vehicles continue to prove their worth, sending spectacular images and vast amounts of data back to Earth. Today, we have unmanned systems on and around Mars, a system orbiting Saturn, and one on its way to Mercury. Yet the human thirst for knowledge cannot be completely satisfied by even the most vivid pictures or the most detailed measurements. We need to see and examine and touch for ourselves. And only human beings are capable of adapting to the inevitable uncertainties posed by space travel.

As we complete our work on the International Space Station, we are developing a new manned exploration vehicle to explore beyond our orbit. This vehicle will be tested by 2008 and conduct its first manned mission no later than 2014.

America will return to the Moon as early as 2015 and no later than 2020, and use it as a foundation for human missions beyond the Moon. We will begin with robotic missions to explore the lunar surface, researching and preparing for future human exploration. Manned lunar missions will follow, with the goal of living and working there for increasingly extended periods.

Kerry John Edwards and I will continue America’s long tradition of leadership in aeronautics, Earth sensing, and space exploration as part of a well-balanced NASA program closely tied to broad payoff for this country. It will not tie NASA to programs such as the Bush administration’s Moon-Mars Program that emerged from closely held meetings in the White House with no clear objectives or cost estimates. It will invest in bold new programs tied to priorities, set by scientific experts, in exploring weather, climate, oceans, astrophysics, and other areas. Our administration will rely on the advice of the scientific community to select the most appropriate goals for research and the most appropriate tools for achieving these goals including the question of whether manned or unmanned missions are most appropriate to the task.

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.