From the complete surprise to the utter sorrow, from the rejoicing to the understanding, from the caution facing the unknown ahead to the confidence in a new via, these have been the reactions that spacEurope received in its work of trying to understand better the reasons that lead to Alan Stern resignation and what changes may be on the way in NASA’s space exploration domains.
A hard task this roundup…a hard task to recover open reactions.
A roundup that confronts itself by one side with the lack of knowledge and startling reaction from the part of the individualities contacted by spacEurope and, on the other, with the refusal to debate such sensible question.
There are also cases where those invited to interlace some thoughts on the matter agree on doing so requiring anonymity, which is the case of today’s participation. An anonymity accepted by this blog editor due to the reliability our source deserves.
According to our guest there is really a big problem with the 2009 Mars Science Laboratory Mission, and it is not clear how this budget shortfall, which apparently ignited these events, will be resolved in a near future.In what directly concerns the resignation of the previous NASA Science Chief, the opinion expressed is that Alan Stern’s decision was involved with the decisions to implement cost controls on NASA programs that suffered from a major deficiency, these were not flexible enough to permit the required capability to handle with unexpected factors, but this is not, according to our guest, the unique reason, another thorn in Stern’s leadership was the fact of his plans were not in agreement with how Mike Griffin personally wants to see the NASA space program develop.
This was, in our source’s perspective, an issue that had surely more than the Mars program, that appeared in the last days as some kind of Trojan horse capable of bringing down Stern’s fortress.There has been, as pointed out by our contact, a great deal of turmoil about the Mars program since February 4, the date when the budget was released. This originated a lot of outcry that has been heard not only by the press and the public but also by the congress.
Our source believes that the resignation was an accumulation of all these, even going back to thedecision in the month of October to cease the funding on the ChemCam instrument on MSL.
This decision leaded to the fact of the found solution had a lot of European involvement and, in our guest view, was handled in a way that was not very well accepted by some sectors.
The most recent event, involving the Mars Exploration Rovers and Odyssey, with all the consequent turbulence, appears to have been the nail in coffin.And the future? What may change with the arrival of Ed Weiler, Stern’s successor?
spacEurope’s source believes that the Red Planet exploration will have more attention to a point, Weiler, as indicated, is warm to the Mars program, and he was the administrator in charge when the MER mission was selected.
But the new Science Chief is also someone who expects value for dollars, and science is, for Ed Weiler, the most important thing.