Devon Island Expedition

Devon Island Expedition
This blog features educational updates on my Devon Island Expedition of July 14-20, 2007. Other sites: spaceref.com/blogs/earthclassroom, www.marsonearth.org

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Farewell, 2008

Well, it's that time of year again, the end of it, that is! Did you have a good 2008, despite the financial crisis and other world events?

Of course, one of the most significant events was the election of a new US President, who will take office in just a few weeks. He will face challenges for sure, but the general mood of the country, indeed the world, seems to be one of cautious optimism. Even Russian President Medvedev is on record as being positive about improved relations with the United States.

In the narrow area of space exploration, which greatly interests me, what will happen? The biggest question is who will lead NASA? It seems highly unlikely that Mike Griffin will be asked to stay on, but will the new Administration have NASA high enough on its priority list to make a decision quickly? One of my astronaut colleagues actually made a bet with me that Griffin will be asked to stay on. I understand that another of my colleagues started a keep Mike petition online, and it appears that Mrs. Griffin has also sent out emails urging support for her husband (please see www.nasawatch.com).

All very interesting and surreal. I personally doubt that Mike will be asked to stay. But, I've been wrong before!

What is going to happen to NASA? I don't know, nor do I have any insider information. I do think that whatever happens, NASA will be dramatically changed. This is more of a feeling than anything else.

I am worried that NASA will lose its place as the world leader in manned space flight. Russia will, by default, become the leader after the Space Shuttle is retired in 2010. China is coming up fast.

What do you think?

Leroy Chiao

3 comments:

Pete said...

I think NASA is also in line for a big change. With the economic recession looming, the public are going to start to look more closely at where it's money is going. Money that was designated for a rocket could be much better spent helping people pay off their mortgages. I think NASA is due for less budget, & better management of it's existing budget.

Is the space program really a priority in today's modern world, with the ISS already nearing completion, & therefore providing more than enough research opportunities in space? I can see NASA getting enough funding for it's AresI + Orion capsule, but it's plans to return to the moon & build a moonbase will be harder to convince people of the need for?
And if that is the case, then why bother with the Orion capsule at all, when the budget for the ISS runs out in 2017 anyway? Would it not be better just to hitch a ride on the Soyuz until then?

I don't know what the new direction for NASA will be, but one thing is certain, it will have to have purpose, not just for spaceflight itself, but something for people on Earth to benefit from now.
Maybe NASA will become the new leader in robotic missions to other planets to gather data on other planets to help better understand our own? Or maybe it's new direction will become to monitor Earth from space to document changes in our environment?

These are all question that will be asked, but that NASA doesn't currently want to answer. And I don't think Barack Obama will not just roll over & give NASA anything they ask for.
Questions are going to have to be answered.

Pimpollo said...

I think that maybe, in just a few years, we are gonna see another space race. I hope the current crisis will make people see how the few resources we have in earth can be managed to achieve a better advantage over overpopulation, contamination, famine and things like that & if that is not the case, call me crazy, but actual space exploration is going to be necesary if we dont wanna die in this planet(or destroy it) and im talking about colonizing the moon & mars.

Sorry for my bad grammar, but english it's not my native language.

I hope you have a great 2009 =]

Pete said...

Latest buzz is that former NASA Astronaut Charles Bolden will replace Griffen.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_F._Bolden,_Jr.