Three weeks after releasing their final report on the future of human space exploration, the co-chairs of the National Research Council’s Committee on Human Spaceflight will speak at a hearing of the House Science Committee this week. Purdue University president and former Indiana governor Mitch Daniels, and Jonathan Lunine from Cornell University, will testify before the full House Science Committee on Wednesday morning to discuss their report. The two are the only witnesses scheduled to testify.
The committee’s report, originally requested in the 2010 NASA Authorization Act, proposed a “pathways” approach to human space exploration, in contrast to the “flexible path” model conceived by the Augustine Committee in 2009 and adopted in large part by NASA. However, the committee also noted that carrying out any of their proposed pathways (which, in some cases, would mean not landing humans on Mars until 2050 or later) will require increases in NASA’s budget at up to twice the rate of inflation for an extended period.