There’s a lot about President Obama’s new space strategy that I like (here is a pretty good recent roundup of the approach and reaction from all sides). The Bush plan was uninspired and a sop to the space/industrial complex. It is past time to get NASA out of the low earth orbit business and into truly technologically challenging missions (Mars, anyone?). However, Joel Achenbach nails the flaw in what we’ve heard so far:
“Technology development” may be sensible, but it isn’t what you’d call a story in the same way that “We’re going to fly to an asteroid” is a story…. If you want the public to buy into a plan, you have to tell them where you’re going.
Anytime I don’t hear a clear story, it makes me wonder if there really is a story at all. The Obama space team is very clear about what it doesn’t want to do (Shuttle, anything Bush). Is it clear in its own mind about what it will commit to do? Not so much, I fear.