U.S. Committee Wants Your Opinions Of The Future Of Human Spaceflight

NASAWe here at GFR are obviously huge supporters of advancing exploration of and expansion into space in whatever form it can take. And while the private sector seems more ambitious about space exploration than ever before, it seems like every other day we hear a new story about how NASA’s funding has dwindled to a stack of scratch-off lotto tickets and $0.73 in loose change. Since it’s a government entity, NASA will always be subject to the whims of politicians, and there’s generally not much we can do about that other than voting for people who support the space program. Now a U.S. government committee has invited space proponents to speak up about what role human spaceflight should play in our future.

Given how prevailing anti-science attitudes seem to be these days, the space program could use all the proponents it can get. It’s a chance to speak up, for whatever that’s worth. You can submit your thoughts, no more than four pages in length, via the U.S. National Academies of Science website right here. The deadline for submissions is July 9. Here are the details:

This request for input papers is open to any and all interested individuals and groups wishing to submit their own ideas on the role of human spaceflight and their vision for a suggested future. In developing their papers, respondents are asked to carefully consider the following broad questions.

  1. What are the important benefits provided to the United States and other countries by human spaceflight endeavors?
  2. What are the greatest challenges to sustaining a U.S. government program in human spaceflight?
  3. What are the ramifications and what would the nation and world lose if the United States terminated NASA’s human spaceflight program?

The committee is seeking input papers of no more than 4 pages in length, not counting any figures, tables or references. (Due to the expected volume of input, the committee is unable to guarantee that papers of greater length will be considered.) In discussing the above questions, please describe the reasoning that supports your arguments and, to the extent possible, include or cite any evidence that supports your views. In considering #1 above, submitters may consider private as well as government space programs.

If you decide to submit a paper, let us know, because we’d love to hear some of your thoughts on the subject. Maybe we’ll even share some of the more eloquent responses. In the meantime, sound off in the comments, and here’s a tribute to a time before we stopped dreaming.

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