House members of the Committee on Science and Technology are reluctant to alter NASA’s plans for human spaceflight. The conundrum: Give NASA more money or scale back its ambitious plans.
The House member remarks, detailed in a New York Times story, indicate that legislators don’t think that the end of the space shuttle should mean the end of human spaceflight. However, NASA doesn’t have the funding to head to Mars and beyond.
The House Committee on Science and Technology also issued a statement. The key quote from Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics Chairwoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ):
“I have to say that I am extremely frustrated, in fact, I am angry. I have to say that I think we are no further ahead in our understanding of what it will take to ensure a robust and meaningful human space flight program than we were before they started their review. Probably the most important finding of the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans is the panel’s determination that there is a serious mismatch between the challenges that we have asked NASA to meet and the resources that have been provided to the agency. In other words, we can’t get anywhere worth going to under NASA’s projected budgets. But we didn’t need an independent commission to tell us that. That’s been painfully obvious for some time now. And the impact of that shortfall is that the good work being done by NASA’s civil servants and contractors risks being undone.”
NASA is in a bit of a tug of war over priorities. A recent independent report says NASA should turn some of its mission over to the private sector. Others argue that folks should double down on NASA.
What would you do? Scale back NASA or fund it?
Here are some resources to help you shape your opinion:
- Summary report of the U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee
- Tuesday’s hearing on the review (prepared testimony on the left)
- Committee statement
And additional NASA coverage: