In case you missed it: the Orlando Sentinel reported Sunday that NASA administrator Charles Bolden is being investigated by the agency’s inspector general for a potential conflict of interest regarding a biofuels research program. Bolden reportedly sought the advice of officials at Marathon Oil, a company whose board Bolden previously served on, about a NASA Ames project to develop biofuel from algae, then concluded that the project in question was “not a good investment in research dollars at this time” for the agency. NASA’s general counsel reviewed the consultation and found no conflict of interest, but the issue is under review by the inspector general.
Congressman C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D-MD), in a visit to Huntsville, said that he wants a “roadmap” of the country’s long-term goals for space exploration over the next 10-15 years. He appeared concerned that without an aggressive space exploration plan, “it gives a head start to a lot of our competitors, especially the Chinese.” However, as the video accompanying the article reveals, Ruppersberger is not necessarily advocating a complete restoration of Constellation and an increase in NASA spending. “Let’s be perfectly clear: the president canceled the program, so we have to build upon where we are,” he said. “And again, the issue of cost is there, especially in this economy.”
At 2:30 pm this afternoon Space News is hosting a live webcast with NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver titled “NASA’s New Direction: An Update from the Top”.