John Marburger, the President’s science advisor, was the luncheon speaker Tuesday during NASA’s Centennial Challenges workshop in Washington. During his talk he touched upon the rationale for sending humans into space, and had some interesting comments:
We’re pretty sobered by the Columbia experience and the Challenger experience. They made it clear that we have to have a darn good reason to put humans up there… Governments do have a responsibility to protect people from dangers that they might not fully understand.
While Marburger didn’t explicitly mention private human spaceflight in that passage, the implication that a number of people in the audience (which had a number of representatives of the “alt.space” community) got was that Marburger wasn’t terribly fond of space tourism. I don’t know if that’s a fair assessment (or if Marburger has even given any thought to it), but that was the impression he left.