NASA better come up with some good reasons to keep Ares and Orion alive, because Barack Obama is no JFK: The office of the President Elect has send them a questionnaire asking some tough questions about our favorite space program, Space News reports. You know, the one which is supposed to take Humanity back to the Moon and go to Mars. In fact, the questionare goes as far as asking if NASA could redesign the Orion spacecraft so it could be launched by the European Ariane 5 or the Japanese H2A:
Estimate the feasibility of designing a resized Orion capsule that could be launched by international launch vehicles such as the [European] Ariane 5 or the [Japanese] H2A.
I don't know about the feasibility of that, I-even while I am not American-doubt about its convenience. After all, even if the economy is broken, wouldn't government investment in the aerospace industry help it come back and help the US as a whole, just like the Apollo program did, generating thousands of jobs and creating new technologies that put the US ahead of every other country in the planet?
Fortunately, it seems that some people think this is not really a setback, even while the questionare doesn't ask about the cancellation or scaling of any other programs currently under progress or in the drawing table. John Logsdon, a space expert at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, has hope:
After all, these are the questions that everyone is asking, and the transition team certainly must get NASA's best answers to them. I would not overinterpret and come to any conclusion regarding what direction the team may be headed - after all, there is still almost two months left in the transition.
Maybe he is right, maybe he is not. After all, during the campaign, Obama pledged to inject two billion dollars into NASA. However, he may not be interested in taking us to Mars but improving our understanding of Earth climate, beaming solar energy from space, and defend Earth against asteroids and comets. I hope his space advisors are aware about the fact that it only takes a bunch of guys from an oil perforation rig to do that. I mean, even Dick and Condi know that the oil industry are the only ones who can save us against global scale wars and doomsday meteors. [Space News via Slashdot]