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Exploration

A Peek Inside White House Thinking on Space?

By Keith Cowing
March 7, 2008

Address by OSTP Director John Marburger at the Goddard Memorial Symposium

“I agree completely with the third point about international collaboration and the opportunity for United States leadership, but there are phrases in the other points that make me uneasy. Yes, it is time to go beyond LEO with people as explorers. But no, the purpose of sustained human exploration is not “to go to Mars and beyond.” The purpose of sustained human exploration is, as the second point states “to serve national and international interests.” And I think of those interests as much broader than simply going somewhere and coming back. Our current space exploration policy says “The fundamental goal of this vision is to advance U.S. scientific, security, and economic interests through a robust space exploration program.” Exploration that is not in support of something else strikes me as somehow selfish and unsatisfying, and not consistent with the fact that we are using public funds for this enterprise, no matter how small a fraction of the total budget they may be.”

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