Neither the headline or the lead paragraphs are justified by this article at Space.com.
Hed: “Space Experts Say International Cooperation is Key for NASA’s Space Vision.”
NASA should not limit itself to merely seeking support from the American public to push forward its vision of the human exploration of space, according to the foreign space agency directors, scientists and space enthusiasts addressing a presidential commission Monday.
While support from the American people, and the politicians who represent them, is a critical component of the space vision, so to is international cooperation, panelists said during the final meeting of the Commission on the Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy.
Now one would think from such an introduction that there was unanimity, or at least some kind of consensus, among the “foreign space agency directors, scientists and space enthusiasts” on this point, but there’s no evidence of it in the article. If anyone other than the “foreign space agency directors” mentioned the need for international cooperation, it went unreported. And of course, pleas of foreign space agency directors for international cooperation on space are the space reporting equivalent of dog bites man.
And of course, they whined, politely:
The lack of a concrete plan, one with specific goals that are more detailed than the broad statement “to the Moon, to Mars and Beyond,” has made it difficult for some of NASA’s international partners to gauge whether they could be an asset in the vision.
“We’d like to see the details of the plan,” said JAXA executive director Kiyoshi Higuchi, adding that the lack of specifics in Bush’s vision are partly responsible for JAXA’s hesitation to formally commit its resources to assisting NASA. “It makes it difficult for us to single out what technology we can bring to the effort.”
Because a bureaucrat, particularly a space bureaucrat, is lost without a, you know, twenty-year plan.
I don’t believe that international cooperation is necessary for this initiative, at least in the sense that it’s normally used, though I have no problem with purchasing technologies from overseas if they’re useful. The space station experience should be cautionary, and when international cooperation becomes an end, rather than a means, it can rapidly lead to disaster. I wrote a Fox column about this a couple years ago.
In fact, I think that Mr Malik buried the actual lead. Here’s what I found of more interest in the article, which I think would have been as valid a theme:
During its hurly-burly days in the race with Russia to put humans in space, NASA’s most attractive quality was in the imaginations of the American people, who hoped they would soon join the astronauts on spacewalks, panelists said.
“What NASA seemed to forget was that then, we all wanted to go,” Tether told commissioners. “We were forgotten about.”
But if NASA can find a way for American citizens to take the baby steps that would eventually allow them to reach the moon – or even just space – themselves, it would do wonders for the space agency’s support, he added.
“If you can do that, you will have a constituency that you don’t have today,” Tether said.
That’s Tony Tether, head of DARPA. He gets it, even if NASA doesn’t. I hope that the commission was listening.