UCF professor travels to Washington to support space, NASA

Once again, an administration’s plans for NASA face congressional criticism, scrutiny from a blue-ribbon panel and demandsfor more funds that set parts of the agency against one another.

“You cannot have a public space agency without politics playing a role. That’s only right when the taxpayers are paying the bills,” says planetary scientist Daniel Britt of the University of Central Florida. This month in Washington, Britt and his colleagues visited congressional staffers to voice support for more missions to explore nearby planets, projects cut by NASA. “We tell them that space exploration is an area where the U.S.leads the world, and we’d like to see it stay that way,” Britt says.

Such calls are not so unusual. Even as NASA’s largest Mars mission, the Curiosity rover, headed for the Red Planet this summer, standard space agency politics took place on Earth. Astronaut Donald Pettit testified to the Senate about International Space Station research, and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, spoke to a National Research Council panel assessing the “strategic direction” of the space agency.

Read the entire story from USA TODAY here.

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