Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Letter urges House to shift NASA priorities

A group of 30 Nobel Laureates, former NASA officials and astronauts and space policy experts have stepped up pressure on U.S. House lawmakers to support key elements of the Obama administration's space policy.

An eight-page letter delivered Tuesday to House Science Committee chairman Bart Gordon and other leaders says the House's NASA plans "substantially" underfund technology development, commercial spaceflight, student research and robotic exploration precursors, among other priorities.

"These investments will benefit all parts of our space program," the letter says. "Indeed, human space exploration beyond Earth orbit can only be truly sustainable and affordable if commercial spaceflight to low Earth orbit and innovative research and development efforts are pursued as well."

The House bill essentially supported a continuation of the Constellation program that President Obama wants to cancel. A Senate bill supported commercial crew taxis and faster development of a heavy-lift rocket.

The 2011 fiscal year begins Oct. 1, but Congress isn't expected to pass a budget until after mid-term elections in November.

The letter's signers are listed below.

Nobel Laureates: Dr. David Baltimore; Dr. Baruch 'Barry' Blumberg; Dr. Leon Cooper; Dr. Riccardo Giacconi; Dr. Russell Hulse; Dr. Wolfgang Ketterle; Dr. Mario Molina; Dr. Douglas Osheroff; Dr. Robert Richardson; Dr. F. Sherwood Rowland; Dr. George Smoot; Dr. Joe Taylor; Dr. Charles Townes; Dr. Frank Wilczek.

Former NASA senior officials: Dr. Julian Earls; Dr. Lennard Fisk; Dr. Noel Hinners; Prof. Scott Hubbard; Dr. John Klineberg; Dr. Vic Lebacqz; Joe Rothenberg.

Former astronauts: Dr. Joseph Allen; Dr. Roger K. Crouch; Dr. Samuel Durrance; Dr. Jeff Hoffman; Dr. Ed Lu; Dr. George Nelson; Dr. Kathy Thornton.

Other space and science educators: Dr. John Logsdon; Bill Nye "The Science Guy."

No comments: