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Back to the Moon – Sans Life Science

By Keith Cowing
NASA Watch
September 19, 2005

NASA Revives Apollo – While Starving Space Life Science, SpaceRef

“At one point Griffin made a point of saying that science will not be cut in order to fund implementation of the VSE. “It is not about taking money from the science program – or the aeronautics program in order to fund manned space flight. It is about utilizing the money that we have to achieve different – and I think – far more exciting goals – in human spaceflight.” He said. A few minutes later he repeated that statement adding that in his plans “we do not take one thin dime” out of science. These statements are in clear conflict with recent events. A hundred or more contractors working on life science activities at ARC have been laid off in past weeks..

Reader comment: Keith – nice words on NASAwatch today. I suspect the committee listed below will be providing some interesting findings…

Review of NASA Strategic Roadmaps: Space Station Panel October 3, 2005 – October 5, 2005

Project Scope:

A committee under the aegis of the Space Studies Board will review the science that NASA is proposing to undertake under the new space exploration policy and will make recommendations for how all of NASA’s science disciplines, including Earth science, space science, and life and microgravity science, can make adequate progress towards their established goals, as well as providing scientific research in support of the new policy. This committee will provide advice and recommendations to NASA that focus on the assembly and use of the International Space Station in support of space exploration. Research and space exploration goals will be addressed, with emphasis on understanding how the space environment affects human health and capabilities.

This workshop is funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Approximate starting date for this project is August 15, 2005. A final report of the study is expected by the end November 2005.

Reader comment: “… “we do not take one thin dime” out of science.”

When the Exploration Initiative started cutting all fundamental/basic research in favor of exploration-related research, GRC reorganized itself to have an Exploration Systems Division, containing the former Systems, Engineering, and Microgravity Science divisions. That means all GRC microgravity experiments are now part of the exploration funding, not “science” funding. Ergo, these science experiments can have their funding reallocated to CEV/CLV since they are not “science.” The phrase “shell game” comes to mind.

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