I alluded in a posting a couple days ago that NASA comptroller Steve Isakowitz had outlined four “great misconceptions” about the new space initiative. I hadn’t had the chance until now to discuss what those misconceptions were that Isakowitz outlined during a Space Transportation Association breakfast earlier this month. In short, the four misconceptions are:
1) The program is too Moon-centric
2) It is too expensive
3) It is not expensive enough
4) It slashes science
He spent much of his talk debunking those misconceptions, noting that, for example, going to the Moon is designed primarily to demonstrate new technologies, not to establish a permanent base. He also noted that over half of the funds planned for the program (through 2020) go to robotic, rather than human, missions, and that no existing programs were canceled to pay for it (although some, like Beyond Einstein and JIMO, will be delayed.)
Isakowitz also sounded a note of caution. If we “blow it” this time, he warned, it could be decades before we get another shot at such a program. He said that while the current economic situation may not be ideal, it will likely not get better in the next decade. This seemed perhaps a little too pessimistic, but does give the impression that this plan is perceived with the agency as the last, best chance for major change for fthe foreseeable future.