The video above is a response to a question about NASA’s new plan posed to presidential science advisor John Holdren at the AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy in Washington on Thursday, one day after he appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee to discuss the administration’s new human spaceflight plans. He outlined the admininstration’s objections to Constellation, including its “rapidly escalating costs” and schedule slips. “The president and his advisors, including me, made the decision that there are other destinations in deep space, destinations beyond low Earth orbit, that will enable us to do more science sooner, with more missions, more visits, more exciting discoveries than going back to the Moon 50 years later,” he said.
He noted that some of the astronauts who went to the Moon during Apollo oppose the new plan. “It’s not real surprising that the American heroes who were the first people to set foot on the Moon might think the most exciting thing we could possibly do now is to go back there, but not everybody agrees with them.” He pointed out that a “large array” of astronauts support the White House’s plan, from Buzz Aldrin and Sally Ride to Mae Jemison and John Grunsfeld.
“I think we’re getting some very bad press, frankly,” Holdren continued, “because there’s huge attention in the press ot the fact that Neil Armstrong and Gene Cernan testified against the president’s proposal and practically no attention at all to a large number of astronauts who support it.”