One of the criticisms leveled at the Vision for Space Exploration is that, since President Bush’s January 2004 speech at NASA Headquarters, he has done little, if anything, to promote it publicly. A break in the silence came today, with the release of a presidential proclamation designating December 17th as Wright Brothers Day. According to the proclamation:
Today, our Nation follows the Wright brothers’ example of innovation as we continue to explore the frontiers of air and space. My Administration has outlined a vision for space exploration that includes a return to the Moon and a long term human and robotic program to explore Mars and the solar system. By working to expand the realm of the possible, we can gain a better understanding of the universe and continue the journey that the Wright brothers began more than a century ago.
This, of course, was not a public address but simply a written statement published by the White House, so it may not assuage those critics who want to see the President speak more about it publicly. (Given Bush’s current approval ratings, though, would you really want him out there talking about it?) At this point, though, the Vision arguably doesn’t need public attention from the President: it would benefit best from proper funding and some technical progress, as well as a better articulation by NASA of why we’re going back to the Moon and establishing a base there.
[A nod to Space News, which published a brief article about the mention of the VSE earlier today.]