The Space Frontier Foundation and the Mars Society announced yesterday that they are jointly calling on NASA to mount a shuttle servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. “The Hubble deserters’ embrace of irrational fear as a core ethic threatens a precedent that would preclude any future human accomplishments in space,” the Foundation’s spokesman, Rick Tumlinson, said in the statement. “Indeed, had such an ethic prevailed in our space program the past, we would never have been able to launch or repair Hubble, and the Apollo program would have been inconceivable. Should we embrace it now, the prospects for future human exploration of the Moon and Mars will decline to zero.” While the Space Frontier Foundation and the Mars Society have a lot in common—organizations with influence that goes beyond the relatively small sizes, featuring outspoken (and often polarizing) leaders—they usually have very different views on national space priorities, making joint statements like these relatively rare. (Although both organizations are members of the Space Exploration Alliance.)
Meanwhile, Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD) visited NASA Goddard yesterday and called on NASA to restore a robotic servicing mission to Hubble. Hoyer, whose district includes Goddard, said that the robotic servicing plan, dropped by NASA at the beginning of this year, “is a very important mission for us to continue and complete.” NASA associate administrator (and former Goddard director) Al Diaz, on the same tour, reiterated that “We don’t intend on servicing it, that’s where we are.” Hoyer, it should be noted, is the minority whip, the second-highest ranking Democrat in the House.