|By Unknown user - Jul 19, 2008 7:05:53 PM ET|
|Also listed in: Full funding for NASA 2009 | Space and Aeronautics Policy|
Space policy made a pretty decent splash at Netroots Nation. We had an excellent panel on space policy, and an excellent platform meeting. For those of you who don't remember, we had Andrew Hoppin moderating, and Chris Bowers, Lori Garver, Patricia Grace Smith, and George Whitesides all speaking. You can about the panelists here.
Join me over the fold to read, and see it
First, I have some very excellent news - because we were in room 19, our panel was taped, and you can see it. It comes in 2 parts
Click here to see the first part of the panel
Click here to see the 2nd part of the panel.
Unfortunately, until 12:30 into it, there is no audio, so a good chunk of George Whitesides' comments are lost. Fortunately, I took what I felt were pretty good notes, and so I'll provide the missing information
George talked about the need for long term vision, in this particular case the idea that one day, we'll have more people off planet than on planet. He noted that there needed to be more dialog between everyone. He also talked about how NASA & Space can help us deal with the various challenges we face, like global climate change and clean renewable energy.
George provided a good frame for where things stand - he noted that currently NASA gets 17 billion, and military space gets double that. He also noted the rise of commercial space, and how while space used to be just about NASA, that is now changing.
In particular he noted that there is a lot of turmoil in NASA, that is driven by the human spaceflight program. However, there are 5 key areas for NASA
1 - embrace climate change - This has been a signature issue for NASA, and given the dangers we face, NASA can play a powerful role
2 - Embrace its role as a catalysis for commerical spaceflight - regular readers know about the emerging space industry, and George noted how NASA could do a lot to help advance the industry.
3 - Embrace international collaboration - Space projects can be large scale, and spreading the risk among various governments can help us deal with these risks and costs.
4 - Space militarization (and more specifically weaponization) is not a good thing - A shooting war in space is a bad idea.
5 - Dealing with the energy issue - key to the issue of climate change, is coming up with new renewable forms of energy. NASA, and space, can help, ranging from acting as a technological incubator, up to things like Space Solar Power.
Finally, George closed with a comment about how human spaceflight has had lots of changes, and we need continuity - changing the plan every four or eight years doesn't allow for the long term planning that will be needed.
Also, you can read Chris Bowers comments over at openleft
As for Lori Garver and Patricia Grace Smith - it was great to hear from them, but I feel their own words can speak better than I can, so I encourage you to watch the video.
Platform Meeting About Space Policy
If you haven't heard, Senator Obama is seeking input for what the Democratic platform should include and say. Because of that, we had decided to have a meet-up, to talk about and suggest ideas as to what the Democratic platform should say about space. After a good round of talking, meeting and greeting (and some drinking) we got started, and everyone offered up their various ideas. These ideas included the following
- Recreate the National Space council
- Investment in cheap, reliable access to space
- Fully fund Constellation
- Increase funding for COTS
- Give the Presidential Science adviser (or in Bush's case, just science adviser) the direct access he needs to advise the president
- A focus on Space development
- A focus on Space resource utilization
- Make NASA "cool"
- Use NASA to help deal with the energy problems/climate crisis
If people are really curious, I will provide the complete list of ideas proposed, later tonight (I don't have it with me). From this list, we narrowed it down to three issues, and produced the following platform proposal (official disclaimer - this is our proposal, not yet a part of the Democratic party platform). BTW, I should probably note - this isn't quite yet finalized, as some people had to leave early. However, it does focus on the key points.
The United States has a unique and powerful relationship with space - from the glory days of Apollo, to today's Mars Rovers and the International Space Station, the United States has been an important player in the long term use of space. That relationship needs to continue, and further developed. In particular, there are 3 points that must be incorporated into the platform related to spaceThe United States, in cooperation with other countries and private individuals/organizations/companies, must move humanity towards a spacefaring society.
Moving humanity into space, and truly incorporating it into the sphere of human existence, will have massive long term positive impacts, ranging from new resources and industries, to a greater understanding about ourselves and the universe. To become a spacefaring society, we will need many people and many groups involved - other governments, entrepreneurs, engineers, scientists, even artists and musicians will play a role. Vital to this is the development of cheap, reliable access directly to space, for every person, which we need to invest in.Space and NASA are vital to deal with the intertwined problems of energy independence and climate change, including both monitoring and finding solutions.
NASA has played an integral role in monitoring our earth. In addition, it has acted as incubator for new technologies. These 2 factors mean NASA must have a major role in these 2 issues. Further, as mentioned above, the resources of space, specifically space solar power, offers us a long term, large scale solution to the problem of energy independence.The President and Congress must have independent, advisers concerning the issue of Space, and science, who have direct access to elected officials.
These advisers may come in many forms - a re-invigorated National Space Council, or a space policy adviser to the president, scientific adviser to the President, or similar offices in congress. But all of these advisers need to be independent, and have direct access to the president, or congress.
BTW, if you were at the platform meeting, and want to offer a modification, feel free to email me.
All in all, it was a good turnout, especially to the Space Policy Panel. It was good meeting people who I've only interacted with online. While there were less at the platform meeting, it was still a good turnout, and it was a lot of fun.