Congress

The race to chair the House Science Committee formally begins

The day after 2012 general election, a campaign of a different sort formally got underway: the race to chair the House Science Committee. With current chairman Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) term-limited by House Republican rules from remaining the chairman, three members are vying to take over the position. On Wednesday, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI)—the current committee vice-chairman who also chaired the committee from 1997 until 2001—formally announced his candidacy for the job.

“I am seeking the chairmanship for the House Science Committee because our nation’s science and space policy is at a critical juncture,” he said in a statement. Later, he specifically cited NASA and commercial space policy as an area of interest to him: “Specifically, we must responsibly fund our research and development programs, refocus NASA and foster the developing private space industry, and put the United States back on a path toward being a leader in STEM education.”

Sensenbrenner is expected to face competition from two other members: Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Lamar Smith (R-TX). Smith currentlt chairs the House Judiciary Committee but, like Hall, is being term-limited out of that position. He confirmed to The Hill that he’s interested in seeking the science committee chairmanship, putting an emphasis on space issues. “It is important that NASA have a unifying mission,” he said. “Even though it has been almost 40 years since man last set foot on the moon, we should continue to shoot for the stars.”

55 comments to The race to chair the House Science Committee formally begins

  • SpaceColonizer

    Rohrabacher! Rohrabacher!! Rohrabacher!!! If only we could vote on such things.

  • “On Wednesday, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI)—the current committee vice-chairman who also chaired the committee from 1997 until 2001—formally announced his candidacy for the job.”
    The reactionaries will do anything to keep Rohrabacher out of that key position.

  • Rooting for Dana … Sensenbrenner would like to put NASA out of business.

  • Mark R. Whittington

    Rohrabacher is a long shot. The House is not likely to endorse his crony capitalist approach.

    • Crony capitalist? Considering what you want to continue?

      Hilarious! It appears you have never had a course in critical thinking.

    • Byeman

      Crony capitalist? That is lame label. You are scrapping the bottom of the barrel if that is the only thing you come up with to support your nonsensical POV. He is no more a crony capitalist than any member of congress from FL, AL or TX. The whole idea of crony capitalism as it relates to the US space program is luscious.

      • Googaw

        The whole idea of crony capitalism as it relates to the US space program is luscious.

        True enough. Real crony capitalism at least has a plausible story for why, for example, it makes economic sense to manufacture solar cells in the San Francisco Bay area. Romney would probably fire you for that too, but you can sell it to most of your typical Congressfolk. The faux “commerce” of NewSpace, their fantasy markets-of-the-future, and their vacuum-customer depots, by contrast, can be sold only to the most sci-fi-addled crackpots like Gingrich and Rohrbacher.

    • common sense

      Oh come on guys! You and I very well know that Rohrabacher is from this socialist soon to be independent country, you know… California! A place where “crony capitalism” is the only way.

      Oh well…

    • Robert G. Oler

      Mark ….you keep lying…you know lying cost Willard his chance at the Presidency…Commercial crew and cargo are not crony capitalism…thats SLS and Orion. Sorry I have to call you on this everytime you say it…

      Did you read pathetic M. Barones “I got it wrong” article…what a putz…and you said he knew more about American politics then anyone here….lol RGO

  • GeeSpace

    Sensenbrenner will not be a “good” Chairman. Too much anti-NASA and anti commercial space. Not sure of the other two possibilities. We need a Chair of the House Science Committee that advocates both public and private human space programs.

  • yg1968

    I would prefer Rohrabacher too because he is a strong supporter of commercial crew. I noticed that Sensenbrenner says in his statement that he wants to “foster the developing private space industry”. So he sounds pro-commercial crew too.

  • yg1968

    Actually, I just looked up Sensenbrenner’s record and he doesn’t sound very pro-commercial crew. He has concerns… He opposed the 2010 NASA Authorization bill.

  • E.P. Grondine

    The GOP leadership has some thinking to do.

    Sensenbrenner was a leader in the effort to impeach Clinton,which most voters think was a complete waste of time. (I myself view it as a honeypot operation.)

    There are foreign entanglements which are likely to emerge.

    Oh the other hand, Rep Rohrabacher has shown leadership on space issues, and that he can work with the other side of the aisle. Lest Rohrabacher be accused of croney capitalism,there are other high tech industries in his district. (Obama will not be able to take sole credit for SpaceX.)

    My two space issues now are preparing for the possible 2022 impact (Rohrabacher’s been a leader in that field, due to the influence of the late Dem. Rep. George Brown Jr.) and getting ULA working on a flyback re-usable first stage. Rohrabacher understands defense issues.

    Rohrabacher surfs; he appeals to environmentalists and the youth vote in his district. A wide base, in fact. I do not know anything about Sensenbrenner’s base.

    Sadly, given the previous successes of the attack wing of the GOP, I think they’ll back Sensenbrenner for services rendered, unless a better position becomes obvious.

    At some point this attack/impede tactic is going to stop, because it does not work in the long run, and then the GOP rebuilding effort will begin with whoever remains.

    I am way out of the loop, in poor health, and not current on many issues. Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you.

  • E.P. Grondine

    For all of you SLS haters:

    “We just recently delivered a comprehensive report to Congress outlining our destinations which makes clear that SLS will go way beyond low-Earth orbit to explore the expansive space around the Earth-moon system, near-Earth asteroids, the moon, and ultimately, Mars,” NASA deputy chief Lori Garver said at a conference in September.

    “Let me say that again: We’re going back to the moon, attempting a first-ever mission to send humans to an asteroid and actively developing a plan to take Americans to Mars,” Garver added.

    I think that they will need SLS to deal with 73P in 2022.

    • @EP Grondine
      “I think that they will need SLS to deal with 73P in 2022.”
      As an astrophysicist, I don’t see anything that could be done with SLS in relation to short period comet 73P that could not be done with a couple of Falcon Heavies. Also FH will be ready to fly in a couple years; whereas, (according to Booz-Allen-Hamilton) SLS probably will not ever fly. But the whole question is moot, because nothing will need to be done for 73P. The principle researchers on 73P have concluded:
      … dust should reach Earth in 2022, “producing a minor meteor shower–nothing spectacular. However,” he adds, “the ongoing splitting of the comet means new meteoroids are being sent in new directions, so a future strong meteor shower from 73P remains a real possibility.”
      See:
      http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2006/24mar_73p/
      So a strong meteor shower is the most you can expect, not even a storm and even a storm is not dangerous. If it stayed in the form of large chunks we would be in trouble, but that is not the case. Sorry to disappoint you.

    • Dark Blue Nine

      “For all of you SLS haters:

      ‘We just recently delivered a comprehensive report to Congress outlining our destinations which makes clear that SLS…’”

      The report that Garver referred to in her speech is far from “comprehensive”. It’s just a fluff piece in response to a congressional request. It spends less than a page describing each of the obvious human space exploration destinations. It could have been written by a middle school student.

      http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/657307main_Exploration%20Report_508_6-4-12.pdf

      SLS/MPCV’s disposition after sequestration or a budget deal will determine its future over the next year or two, not a fluffy list of human space exploration destinations a decade or two out.

      “I think that they will need SLS to deal with 73P in 2022.”

      The dust from the breakup of Comet 73P/Schwassmann–Wachmann 3 is only expected to produce a minor meteor shower in 2022 (if that).

      Even if the Earth’s orbit was going to intersect 73P’s nuclei, 73P has broken into over 70 different fragments from its former 1,100-meter size. Meteors that small (~20 meters) will not make their way to the surface of the Earth. Even a Tunguska-like air burst requires a 100-meter chunk.

      • Paul

        Breaking a 1100 meter asteroid into 70 pieces doesn’t give you 20 meter pieces. it gives you ~270 meter pieces.

        • @Paul
          You are right. I calculate each one of the 70 pieces would have an average radius of 133 meters, which would of course give you pieces of 266 meter diameter, rounding to two significant digits yields 270 meters (because the orginal whole volume was only accurate to two significant digits).
          Volume of 1100 meter diameter comet nucleus: V=4/3*pi*r^3 (r=550 meters)
          V=6.97×10^8 cubic meters
          divide V by 70 to get volume of fragments:
          9.96×10^6 cubic meters
          Jockeying the Volume equation around to solve for average radius of fragments:
          r=(3V/(4*pi))^(1/3) (V=volume of a fragment)
          yields radius of 133 meters for a fragment

          However, as the article I cited by the principal researchers indicates, these chunks will actually disintegrate into essentially clouds of dust particles; especially since this particular comet repeatly comes fairly close to the Sun quite often and comet nuclei are essential dirty snowballs. The interstitial frozen water holding the dust particles and pebbles together would sublimate to the vacuum of space when the comet is in the warm inner Solar System.

          • E.P. Grondine

            Hi RB –

            Have you wondered what process led to your math failure? I myself did not catch it, as you introduced yourself as an astrophysicist.

            Given the number of nuclear electric and chemical plants around today, even 30 meters impactors will/may have devastating consequences.

          • @EP Grondine
            “Have you wondered what process led to your math failure? I myself did not catch it, as you introduced yourself as an astrophysicist.”
            I didn’t have a math failure. DB9 gave the wrong figure, not me. I was showing DB where the correct diameter comes from. Pay more attention to who posts a comment.

    • common sense

      “For all of you SLS haters”

      I don’t think you can technically hate a Power Point presentation not even a piece of hardware.

      • Vladislaw

        I actually almost spewed my coffee after that one. You could have added that the laptop used to make the presentation had keys made of gold and inlaid with gemstones. Because nothing is to good for our Astronauts.

    • Fred Willett

      NASA has a habit of producing reports saying they’re going to do wonderful things. Unfortunately their plans seldom turn into reality.
      If the opinion of Booz-Allen doesn’t weigh with you go back and look at the work Sally Ride did with the Augustine committee. She looked at dozens of possible large rockets and in every case concluded that the costs of actually building the rocket precluded the building of mission hardware to actually use the rockets.
      To quote Jeff Greason (from memory) speaking just after Sally Ride’s presentation:
      “if we were given a complete Constellation for Christmas our next act would have to be to cancell it. We just can’t afford it.”
      SLS wasn’t ordered by congress because it enabled BEO exploration. SLS was ordered in spite of the fact that it prevents BEO exploration.
      In other words it’s all about jobs.
      SLS doesn’t help us. SLS hurts us.

    • Googaw

      “Let me say that again: We’re going back to the moon, attempting a first-ever mission to send humans to an asteroid and actively developing a plan to take Americans to Mars,” Garver added.

      I’ll give this to Garver: she sure knows how to dish out the low-cost entertainment. PowerPoint sci-fi, always conveniently just beyond the budget horizon, keeps the astronaut cult happy and costs mere pennies compared to actual engineering. Just what we need in an era of tight budgets.

  • Ferris Valyn

    I see a lot of discussion about Sensenbrenner vs Rohrabacher.

    Its worth noting that, IF they go by seniority, I am pretty sure that Congressman Lamar Smith would be next in line.

  • Bill Adkins

    No matter who is chairman, it will be a huge challenge to get an authorization bill passed. But one challenge is fairly new. The House’s rules for authorization bills have changed since last time (2010), making it much more difficult. In short the rule known as “cutgo”, will not let authorization bills go to the House floor if they increase funding above the amount in the Budget Resolution, unless the increase is offset with cuts within the bill. In the past, auth bills have added funding, sometimes a lot. Granted, auth bills are not provide actual funding, but they set the ceiling for what approps does. The result is that if the committee can reach a consensus through a combination of setting priorities and/or finding offsets, they will be very relevant to setting the course. or, if they become deadlocked, the committee will be largely irrelevant. The scope and structure of the bill will be critical.

    Who is selected chairman is indeed important for building consensus. Both Sensenbrenner and Smith have experience as a Committee chairman (on Science or Judiciary) and know the issues well. Rohrabacher has been active in space for many years and was Space Subcommittee chair for 8 years. Each has their own style and approach, and each understands what they need to do. So, the question may be not “who” will lead the committee, but “what” should they do?

  • vulture4

    Garver says more about spaceflight being sustainable than she does about SLS/Orion. One suspects what she is saying about SLS/Orion is what Congress is insisting she say, on pain of slashing the budget.

    http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=42002

    Regarding Congress, if Wolf is retaining his position as head of the appropriations subcommittee on Commerce-Justice-Science there is not much prospect for change.

  • Vladislaw

    Sensenbrenner did make some positive comments.

    “If chosen, Sensenbrenner stated that his first priority “will be to pass smart science and space policy that spurs job creation and ensures America’s future competitiveness. Specifically, we must responsibly fund our research and development programs, refocus NASA and foster the developing private space industry, and put the United States back on a path toward being a leader in STEM education.” “

    Sounds like he would support what President Obama has outlined.

    “Sensenbrenner is currently the vice-chair of the committee, and ranks ahead of Smith and Rohrabacher on the panel in terms of seniority. In a statement released last month,”

    Sounds like he is at the head of the line.

    Smith does not mention anything about commercial space:

    “Smith—who is the outgoing chair of the House Judiciary Committee—laid out his interest in the science committee job. “When I was first elected to Congress, the Science Committee was my first choice,” he noted. “Long ago and far away, I won the Bausch & Lomb Science Award in high school, studied astronomy and physics in college, and later earned my pilot’s license. So I have had a longstanding interest in subjects overseen by the Science Committee.”

    “It is important that NASA have a unifying mission,” Smith added. “Even though it has been almost 40 years since man last set foot on the moon, we should continue to shoot for the stars. And we can help future generations get there by encouraging kids to study in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). If America is going to remain competitive in today’s global economy, we need to remain innovative and focused on exploring science and expanding new technologies. Through the work, research and development of American innovators, we can reach our goal of energy independence, develop new technologies to save lives, and discover new worlds in outer space.” “

    http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2012/11/its-official-sensenbrenner-seeks.html

  • josh

    i want rohrabacher. he would be best for commercial space. smith is a corrupt a**hole (sopa). whoever gets it in the end it’s good to know ccicap will continue now that obama is reelected. ideally sls would be cancelled soon but it seems nasa is getting their wish of using it for a pointless l2 mission.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi DBN –

    “The dust from the breakup of Comet 73P/Schwassmann–Wachmann 3 is only expected to produce a minor meteor shower in 2022 (if that).”

    Assuming that 73P is going to turn into magic comet dust is quite an assumption. Do you have any idea of the effects on climate and food production of cometary dust loads?

    “Even if the Earth’s orbit was going to intersect 73P’s nuclei, 73P has broken into over 70 different fragments from its former 1,100-meter size. Meteors that small (~20 meters) will not make their way to the surface of the Earth. Even a Tunguska-like air burst requires a 100-meter chunk.”

    Why are you assuming that all of the fragments are the same size?
    By the way, it appears that 30m fragments lead to 5 kiloton airbursts.

    I prefer data to assumptions. Who in NASA has the Hubble images of 73P’s last pass through the inner solar system?

    • Dark Blue Nine

      “Assuming that 73P is going to turn into magic comet dust is quite an assumption.”

      I never stated such. I only stated that the Earth’s orbit relative to 73P’s in 2022 is only expected to produce a minor meteor shower (at best). There are multiple sources on this:

      http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2006/24mar_73p/

      http://www.mcpstars.org/node/730

      http://www.sandovalsignpost.com/may06/html/night_skies.html

      “Do you have any idea of the effects on climate and food production of cometary dust loads?”

      Yes. Compared to other natural phenomena, it’s negligible to nil. About 5-300 tonnes of cosmic dust (of all origins) enters the Earth’s atmosphere each day. Rounding up, that’s 2,000-110,000 tonnes (2 to 110 thousand tonnes) per year.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120329225140.htm

      By contrast, a single volcano can put up to 20,000,000 tonnes (20 million tonnes) of climate cooling contaminants into the atmosphere.

      volcanoes.usgs.gov/hazards/gas/climate.php

      One volcano can dwarf the annual cosmic dust input into the atmopshere by two orders of magnitude (100x), and there are between 50 and 60 active volcanos in any year (another factor of 10x or 1000x more contaminants annually).

      http://www.volcano.si.edu/faq/index.cfm?faq=06

      Compared to annual volcanic input to the atmosphere, which is linked to small cooling periods, cosmic dust input one thousand times smaller. It has no impact.

      “By the way, it appears that 30m fragments lead to 5 kiloton airbursts.”

      Which is a small fraction of Tunguska (and smaller even than Hiroshima and Nagasaki) and is going to occur much higher in the atmosphere. There are records of these small, high altitude airbursts, and they do no ground damage and have no climatic effect.

      “Who in NASA has the Hubble images of 73P’s last pass through the inner solar system?”

      Those images are publicly available:

      http://www.spacetelescope.org/news/heic0605/

      As are the Spitzer images of 73P’s 2006 breakup:

      http://www.nasa.gov/vision/universe/watchtheskies/spitzer-20060510.html

      As are the ESO VLT images:

      http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso0615/

      Etc., etc.

      “I prefer data to assumptions.”

      No, you don’t. You’ve provided no data. You’ve only made alarmist claims.

      Provide evidence that the Earth is going to cross through 73P’s nuclei (not tail), that the remaining nuclei are Tunguska-sized or larger, and that SLS could do anything about it.

      If you can’t, then take your conspiracy elsewhere.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Well, this is rich:

    “comet nuclei are essential dirty snowballs. ” Don Yeoman’s compared them to the baked Alaska desert.

    Problem is, what comets usually are is conglomerations of 30 m. cometissimals which have been formed at random over the last 4.7 billion years or so. During those “billions znf billions” of years, the heavier elements have usually gravitationally precipitated to their centers.

    That’s why you’re seeing the breakup, now in 270 meter pieces, later most likely into roughly other multiples of 30 meters. And sometimes enough dust to cause a nuclear winter.

    Dirty snowball? Only on the surface. Has rocks in the center.

    • EP, this is my field. Yes, it broke up into 270 meter peices, but this is a short period comet (5.36 year orbit) that spends a lot of time basking in intense solar radiation. As a professional in astrophysics, I already know, “Those large peices what comets usually are is conglomerations of 30 m. cometissimals which have been formed at random over the last 4.7 billion years or so.” You telling that to me is as silly as pretending a particle physicist doesn’t understand nuclear fission and giving him a lecture on it.

      As for, “During those “billions znf billions” of years, the heavier elements have usually gravitationally precipitated to their centers.” That applies more to asteroids than it does comets because asteroids form hot enough to have liquid layers. Comets formed in the Kuiper belt and farther out where it is cold and density differentation does not work as effectively. Percentage of heavy elements versus water is very low in comets compared to asteroids.
      Furthermore, “And sometimes enough dust to cause a nuclear winter.”
      In the case of this particular comet, that’s B.S. Earth has passed through major dense cross-sections of comet material often even in historical times. As the primary researchers said, these particular comet fragments of 73P will cause a nice meteor shower or at most a storm, but not enough particle density to reduce the solar flux Earth receives. The only way you could possibly get a “nuclear winter” type scenario is from a comet whose nucleus had not been exposed to sunlight enough to have disintegrated into very small parts and thus slams most of its mass into the atmosphere. But this comet (according to the researchers who are concentrating on it) is not such a comet: those 30m size chunks will disintegrate too small by 2022. I’m sorry, but you do not know more about this comet than the people who are making their living writing professional papers about it.

      • E.P. Grondine

        RB –

        Where did you get your uniform 270 meter pieces from? From imagery analysis? I seem to recall that original diameter estimates ran from 1.1 to 1.4 to 1.7 kilometers.

        Why do you assume that just because something is not visible to Hubble’s bins it is dust. Is it not true that smaller fragments outgas, and both the smaller and larger fragments outgassing is the same as if the all had small rocket engines? And thus one ends up with a rather long debris cloud instead of a point solution. Further, is it not also true that due to that future locations are impossible to predict accurately?
        Even for Comet Halley, for example.

        Finally, is it not true that 73P’s debris stream is currently at least 6 million kilometers long.

    • A more succinct sentence, instead of, “those 30m size chunks will disintegrate too small by 2022″
      I should have added a few more words to clarify, “those 30m size chunks will disintegrate too small by 2022 and their constituent micro-particles will have spread out three dimensionally into a very low density by that time”
      Again as I said earlier (and as the researchers of 73P indicate), too low a density to cause a “nuclear winter” type event.

      • Googaw

        Rick, thanks for the great technical info.

        The layman who can’t follow these technical arguments can nevertheless arrive at a similar conclusion as follows: any scientist studying these comets would undergo an extraordinary rise in their fame, influence, and career prospects if they discovered one of these comets was a major threat, or made themselves an expert on said threat. So they have a strong incentive to tell us it’s a threat if they believe it could be so, and even a bias to interpret equivocal evidence as being evidence of a threat (good scientists strive to be 100% unbiased, but they’re human like the rest of us).

        So for them to argue that this comet is not a threat is what is called in the laws of evidence “an argument against interest” — that is to say, the evidence is so compelling that there is not any cognizable danger that they must say so even though they would personally benefit by discovering such a threat.

        • E.P. Grondine

          Googaw, let’s be upfront with any readers who stumble into this. The money for impact research will come from money that you, RB, and DBN consider yours for work on other space research.

          Quiet work and discussion among specialists is already underway. They really do not like to have their time wasted by the less than well informed. They also really do not want their work used by the various nuts out there.

        • E.P. Grondine

          Hi Googaw –

          “any scientist studying these comets would undergo an extraordinary rise in their fame, influence, and career prospects if they discovered one of these comets was a major threat, or made themselves an expert on said threat”

          Not within NASA. The NASA bureaucracy has core clients that they satisfy, and any money for a new hazard is expected to come from those core clients funding.

          I could go into asteroid versus comet impact theories, and the perversion of science that took place in NASA,and the center fights, but that really deserves a book rather than a post.

          Googaw, this is the same NASA that just wasted $9 billion dollars on the Ares 1 launcher. Clearly your assumption and assertion of rational actors at NASA does not hold, and thus your argument fails. And fails entirely and completely.

      • E.P. Grondine

        Hi RB –

        My field prior was the effects of impacts. I still retain some of that knowledge.

        I prefer data to theory. Who at NASA has the Hubble images of the most recent 2011 pass of 73P’s debris field?

        NOT the ones from 2006, DBN. And I’m sure that RB will tell you that comet orbits can change, be perturbed.

        Further, comet dust behaves differently than volcanic dust in the atmosphere.

        Right now, we have guesses as to how many chunks are left and how big they are, not data.

        Not everything goes to 30 meters, RB.

        “Earth as passed through major dense cross-sections of comet material often even in historical times.”

        Yes. The effects of a few of those crossings were covered in the Cambridge Conference notes, and the effects of some in my book “Man and Impact in the Americas”. We are still having trouble determining the necessary dust load.

        There does not have to be a major impact for this dust loading to occur.

        I’m sorry, RB, DBN, Googaw, but my colleagues need some of “your” NASA science money to work on both the impact rate and their effects.

        DBN, NASA’s current activities in regard to 73P are similar to knowing a hurricane core is forming off Africa, but then refusing to track it because they usually don’t hit. Those are the facts.

        By the way RB, I’m no particle physicist but it has been reported that muon flow increases radioactive decay, which makes working with isotopic dating far more difficult.

        At least you did not refer to “carbonaceous asteroids” NASA’s experts’ latest weasel words.

  • E.P. Grondine

    “Long ago and far away, I won the Bausch & Lomb Science Award in high school, studied astronomy and physics in college, and later earned my pilot’s license.”

    While I know nothing more about Rep. Smith, that is a pretty good resume.

    The booster competition has turned SLS into something useful. I do not want to single thread the US space program through SpaceX.

    Sadly, Rohrabacher’s blunt statements on the turkey (SLS) may prevent him from getting the chair.

    • “Long ago and far away, I won the Bausch & Lomb Science Award in high school, studied astronomy and physics in college, and later earned my pilot’s license.”
      Oh my, now I am thoroughly intimidated. What is my mere Master’s in astrophysics with High Distinction and receiving the University Medal for “exceptional academic achievement at the Master’s level” (beyond cum laude) compared to that?

      • E.P. Grondine

        You don’t have a pilot’s license, RB, and no hours, so I’m certain that you do not understand this.

        • I realize that you don’t understand that I was pointing out that you seem to think his credentials qualify him for his position, while you assume that you need to explain to me fundamental concepts of my field despite my credentials. Also, despite their credentials and years of diligent research, you are arrogant enough to think that you know more about 73P than the people who make their living doing first-hand research on that very comet.

          Feed your ego by having the last word, since that seems more important to you than the truth. I’m tired of your blathering. Goodbye.

          • E.P. Grondine

            RB –

            You are trying an ex cathedra argument, and that does not cut it in aerospace.

            I simply pointed out to
            you tat you don’t have a pilot’s licence and no hours.

            Whatever your specialty is within astrophysics, it is clearly not comets. You also should be upfront and admit that your own observing needs are different and compete with those of NEO detectors for funding.

            You want the truth? I have met and known far more capable astrophysicists than you, and none of them really had your own sense of self importance.

            For that matter, I’ve met better physicists than you, and the same held.

            As far as the 73P specialists go, to my knowledge you are not among them, they do not know you, and have never even heard of you.

  • The booster competition has turned SLS into something useful.

    No, it hasn’t.

    I do not want to single thread the US space program through SpaceX.

    No one is proposing to do that.

  • Vladislaw

    Where DO you want to single thread the US space program? Through SLS?

    • E.P. Grondine

      I do not want to single thread the US space program through any one firm.

      There is critical research that needs to be done by NASA that I would like to see be done.

  • D. Messier

    When you’re dealing in the fast-changing world of science and technology, where new developments are happening every day, best to term limit your chairmen and rotate in some new people. Unfortunately, the Republican seniority system defeats that idea by rewarding one’s ability to stay in office rather than expertise in the subjects at hand.

    I looked up their records a bit. All three are deep global warming skeptics, voted to bar the EPA from regulating greenhouse gasses, and supported opening the Outer Continental Shelf to drilling. Drill baby drill!

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