Budgets and Policy: October 2006

Comments by NAS Space Studies Board Chair Lennard Fisk, NAS

"There is consternation these days between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and its external science community. In August, three senior science advisors were dismissed from the NASA Advisory Council (NAC). In the aftermath, the Administrator of NASA, Mike Griffin, through correspondence with the NAC and its science subcommittees and through a major speech at the Goddard Space Flight Center, clarified how NASA will manage its science program, and the role of the science community."

Director's Corner - Message from NASA Astrobiology Institute Director Carl Pilcher, NAI

"The clearest expression that astrobiology doesn't "measure up" comes from the Administrator of NASA himself, Mike Griffin. Mike has testified before Congress that he does not see astrobiology as having the same importance as other components of the NASA science portfolio. He's also been quoted as saying that it has less intrinsic subject matter, is less advanced, and that its questions are more vague. Shortly before I left NASA Headquarters I had the opportunity to have an "elevator conversation" with Mike about some of his perceptions about astrobiology."

SETI Institute to Announce New Astrobiology Center - The Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe

"On Tuesday, October 17, the SETI Institute will unveil a new center to study life in the universe and a fund-raising strategy to counter NASA's proposed budget cuts for astrobiology research. From 10 to 11 a.m. at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, a distinguished panel of institute trustees and staff will announce the formation of the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe. The center's activities will focus on astrobiology and be dedicated to the memory of planetary scientist and astronomer Carl Sagan. The panel will explain a new emphasis on fundraising from private sources to offset a proposed 50 percent budget cut by NASA for astrobiology research."