At The Space Review, Matt Greenhouse presents a compelling vision for framing future NASA operations: science missions supported by human operations. One of the most successful examples of this idea is the Hubble Telescope.
While I don’t exactly share the exact priorities of the article, (I’m more pro-humans with some incidental science thrown in) I really want to emphasize the underlying point – more than anything, NASA needs consistency, something that the congressional overlords refuse to provide.
Not to be too preachy, but:
The title of the article – “A values based approach toward national space policy” reminded me that there are many similarities between NASA as an organization and human beings in general in terms of their needs. Just as the article points out about NASA, research has shown that people are more productive when they are driven by internal values rather than externally imposed goals. And just as future-uncertainty caused by fluctuating government policies paralyzes NASA, so too does it affect people’s economic activity.
The optimist in me hopes that both NASA and humans will embrace value driven existences and get a bit of governmental consistency.
Of course, there’s always competition with the Chinese to fall back on.