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NRC on NASA Labs: Not A Pretty Picture

By Keith Cowing
May 11, 2010
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Capabilities for the Future: An Assessment of NASA Laboratories for Basic Research, NRC
“Approximately 20 percent of all NASA facilities are dedicated to research and development: on average, they are not state of the art: they are merely adequate to meet current needs. Nor are they attractive to prospective hires when compared with other national and international laboratory facilities. Over 80 percent of NASA facilities are more than 40 years old and need significant maintenance and upgrades to preserve the safety and continuity of operations for critical missions. … The equipment and facilities of NASA’s fundamental research laboratories are inferior to those witnessed by committee members at comparable laboratories at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), at top-tier U.S. universities, and at many corporate research institutions and are comparable to laboratories at the Department of Defense (DOD). If its basic research facilities were equipped to make them state of the art, NASA would be in a better position to maintain U.S. leadership in the space, Earth, and aeronautical sciences and to attract the scientists and engineers needed for the future.”
NASA’S Outdated Labs Jeopardize Research: Report, Reuters
“The panel found that NASA has systematically neglected research laboratories at six NASA centers — the Ames Research Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, the Glenn Research Center in Ohio, Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, Langley Research Center in Virginia, and Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.”
NASA Boss Wants Innovation, Technology Review
“But [Bolden] called for a new era of invention at the agency. “We have not done anything in the past decade for basic research,” he said. “The frustration for me is that when I go to Congress, all we talk about is Constellation and human spaceflight. We forget that the president’s plan is to spend a lot of money on basic research.”

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