The National Space Exploration Administration

26 05 2011

Is a National Space Exploration Administration the future of NASA? (Hypothetical logo credit: Ben McGee)

I’m a convert.  Yesterday, Apollo astroanut, geologist-moonwalker, and U.S. Senator Dr. Harrison “Jack” Schmitt made what amounts to one of the most daring space exploration suggestions to date:  End NASA.  -And I think I’m all for it.

Allow me to explain.

Dr. Schmitt testing NASA Apollo program field logistics. (Uncredited)

In a sweeping and devastatingly logical essay published on the “americasuncommonsense” blog, Dr. Schmitt makes a compelling case that NASA as a force for exploration and national growth has lost its way.  Irrecoverably.

Being the only scientist-astronaut to ever walk on another world, Dr. Schmitt possesses a unique credibility and vantage from which to make this sort of assessment.  He proposes that NASA and its administrative shortcomings be scrapped in favor of a new agency, which he calls the National Space Exploration Administration, or NSEA.

There is a precedent for this sort of rebirth or evolution, which Schmitt is quick to point out.  NASA itself was created as a combination of the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics and Werner Von Braun’s Army Ballistic Missile Agency, (which was reponsible for one of the most ambitious space exploration initiatives, Project Horizon.)  Likewise, the U.S. Air Force was formed out of the U.S. Army Air Corps.

According to Schmitt, NASA’s climate activities could be cleanly adoped by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA’s space science activities could be neatly rolled into the National Science Foundation, and NASA’s aeronautics research and technology would go back to the coalition of national research centers from which they were originally derived, a recreated National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics.

This, he argues, frees the new NSEA to do what NASA should have been doing all along – driving the human exploration of deep space and reestablishing American space superiority.  The straightforward mission of this new agency, as Schmitt envisions it, is as follows:

“Provide the People of the United States of America, as national security and economic interests demand, with the necessary infrastructure, entrepreneurial partnerships, and human and robotic operational capability to settle the Moon, utilize lunar resources, scientifically explore and settle Mars and other deep space destinations, and, if necessary, divert significant Earth-impacting objects.”

Finally,  this represents a clear-cut national space agency mission that (I believe) everyone who supports space exploration can wholeheartedly endorse.  -And, perhaps more importantly, having such a clear agency objective would end the space exploration/terrestrial science/space science budgetary tug-of-war that has chronically crippled NASA.

Check out the essay and decide for yourself.  I think it’s time to send our governmental representatives a phone call or an email and make them aware of this concept as well, so they will begin to ask the question, “is a NSEA the future of NASA?”


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5 responses

26 05 2011
Paul

The NSEA’s first manned spacecraft shall be called………the NSEA Protector!

27 05 2011
astrowright

Awesome, Paul! I’m all for it.

15 06 2011
bob

we need to stop bickering. we need to amass Our technologies and realize something is heading our way. to take the ignorant view is only saying Biblical views of the world’s end is coming. it is possibly true. scientists cant give everyone the answers but its coming. science and religion were created from the same place, the belief of ideas . i hate doing this, but because of my children if i can leave something for them to get out. i will. we’ve been missed numerous times and by few thousand miles. Difficulties remain in the fact that everyone is afraid of who is killing who. war is counter productive and really has no point in exploration…

30 06 2011
Lloyd Jenkins Jr.

I believe Bob to be against violence and war and I agree with him. If we as a global community could work cohesively to defend our planet and push forward into space we would see changes exponentially.

On topic: I am entirely for the devolvement of NASA and the creation of NSEA. I believed space exploration was the focal point of NASA. Clearly I was wrong. Yes, create an agency with the primary purpose of getting us to those far, far, away galaxies. Throw in a Data for good measure.

30 06 2011
bob

thanks for your comment, and like you said i dont like violence or war god knows i’ve seen enough. but i also have seen the insatiable thirst for knowledge and the ability to better ones self. every human has the desire and the know how yet not the means. every major college and university offers outs for people every day, but it is not available to everyone. limitations and inability to pursue make it difficult for probably some of the greatest minds we as a people could see. so until we can offer the technologies as a means and not an end we wont be able to change much. this is just my opinion.

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