Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Space pathways report

I know I said I wouldn't be blogging much, but this report from the National Research Council, "Pathways to Exploration," is very interesting (at least to those of us who are, as the polling data in the back of the report put it, "attentive" to space; a minority to be sure). I've read some of the document (notwithstanding the not-great legibility of its free, online version), and its call for setting up infrastructure on the moon to develop technology for getting to Mars makes sense to me:
While this report’s recommendation for adoption of a pathways approach is made without prejudice as to which particular pathway might be followed, it was, nevertheless, clear to the committee from this report’s independent analysis of several pathways that a return to extended surface operations on the Moon would make significant contributions to a strategy ultimately aimed at landing people on Mars and that it is also likely to provide a broad array of opportunities for international and commercial cooperation.
Me: The guy in the picture here looks a little spaced-out, but from what I've read in and about the report, it's a thoughtful piece of work, which includes discussion of fundamental questions about why go and who cares. I'll plan on reading more of it. On the off chance that Mitch Daniels, who co-chaired the committee, becomes president or vice president, one of the many credentials he'd bring to the job is a great deal of space policy knowledge, something not often found among high-level politicos.

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