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The Future of NASA

Date: 03-04-10
Host: George Noory
Guests: Richard C. Hoagland, David Livingston, Jim McDade, Charles Boyle

C2C Science Advisor Richard C. Hoagland was joined by Charles Boyle, David M. Livingston, and Jim McDade for a discussion of where NASA is headed and the complex forces which are affecting our very future in space now. NASA stands at the precipice and it's American citizens who are ultimately going to make the decision for its direction, Hoagland stated. The Obama administration has recently proposed gutting the moon & Mars missions, and transferring technology to the private sector. But Hoagland believes they may yet be open to other possibilities, and are courting bipartisan support for expanding space projects, perhaps behind the scenes.

During the first hour, McDade, a longtime space exploration advocate, shared historical and political insights into the funding of NASA missions. Appearing in the second hour, the founder of The Space Show, David Livingston talked about how a number of people at NASA have connections to the "NewSpace" community which advocates alternative approaches to space exploration, including opening things up to commercial opportunities.

Hoagland noted the difficulty in transitioning from government to private sectors, while Livingston commented that "privatization is essential, especially for Earth to low Earth orbit transport, like to the Space Station," but we need to give the commercial efforts time to develop. Former NASA HQ official Boyle addressed the difficulty in tracking economic benefits from the space program, and compared the development of progress to maritime development, which has taken us from canoes to cruise ships. "Given time and ingenuity, we can't not do this," he said, advocating for moon settlements which could replace the Space Station.

During the 4th hour, Hoagland suggested people visit NasaSpaceflight.com to get ideas on what to recommend to the government, and took calls from listeners.

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