Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-VA) is recovering very well from breast cancer, but she’s less interested in talking about that in a Hampton Roads Daily Press article than about one of her pet peeves: the neglect of NASA’s aeronautics programs at the hands of the Vision for Space Exploration. “I’m not against space,” she said in a talk at the National Institute of Aerospace. “just don’t want to see us go to Mars at the expense of everything else.” Although it’s not necessarily a message even members of the audience fully accept:
“In 1994, the (NASA) budget for aeronautics research was $1.54 billion,” she says. It’s half that now, “and the Europeans are in fast-forward. … We’ve got an administration that continues to cut aeronautics while everyone is screaming for an increase. I don’t understand it.”
She links aeronautics with the military, then tells the students, “I hope that you all can come up and lobby Congress one day because you have a project that’s good for our national defense.”
Davis punctuates her talk with “if I stepped on anyone’s toes” because she knows that many of these students have their eyes in the stars.
“I’m space,” says Kristina Zaleski later. She invited Davis to speak on this day. Another student nearby nods. Space.