Today’s New York Times reports that Nobel Winners Back Obama Space Strategy. The problem that we have with this letter is that these are all scientists who of course want more research money and funding for University-led research, for which the Obama space plan would be a boon.
One of the letter’s prime movers is Dr. John Logsdon, former head of the space policy program at George Washington and mentor to key players in the “New Space” cabal at NASA HQ. So no surprise that Dr. Logsdon is trying to help some avoid the coming political and policy Charge of the Light Brigade they are about to face. Their loss is his as well.
The political rationale–really, political naiveté–for opposing human space flight by the science community is simple. It is imagined that very nearly every dollar denied to NASA’s human space exploration program would naturally go towards research grants to keep graduate science students and their advisors busy and funded. In all likelihood, the money would instead go for a new post office or federal office building, named naturally enough for the member of Congress who procured the money for that project.
In short, this is just as much of a special-interest letter as the one from the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.
AmericaSpace Update: A copy of the Nobel laureates letter to House Committee on Science & Technology Chairman Bart Gordon can be found over at SpacePolitics.com. Given Gordon’s stance, and that of Ranking Member Ralph Hall, regarding the President’s proposed changes to our nation’s human space flight program, this letter will, as former Senator Simpson would say, likely have as much impact as a sparrow’s burp in the midst of a hurricane.