SYNTHESIS AND WRAP-UP

The final session of the workshop provided an opportunity for every workshop participant to make one comment. Most participants reiterated points they had made earlier, focusing again on the mismatch between NASA’s assigned responsibilities and its resources, and the need for leadership. Collectively, these participants expressed surprise at the “grim attitude” that pervaded the workshop.

However, a few participants who had been less vocal used this opportunity to share countervailing viewpoints. One participant, a former reporter for the Washington Post, stated that he was “distressed by the level of defeatism” and surprised that so many of the participants expressed the opinion that space activities had become boring. He added, “I have covered a lot of bureaucracy and you don’t know boring. This is space. Even on its worst day, space is interesting.” A non-U.S. participant thought it ironic that the Americans at the workshop didn’t seem to appreciate that the United States is leading the world in science and technology, and has been doing so since World War II. One participant commented that he was “astonished and disappointed” that the group was dwelling on problems and that he did not see the fortitude to do what needs to be done. He argued that NASA and the science program are both productive, and that “we’re the best in the world at what we do.” He called for political will and leadership, and said that “we need to turn around our thinking.”

The workshop did not identify specific solutions to the dilemmas with current space policy, other than to flag some of the potential corrective actions mentioned above, such as giving NASA a compelling geopolitical role (e.g., providing leadership in using space science and technology to address global issues such as climate change or energy resources). The need to identify solutions was articulated by several participants, but such identification was beyond the scope of this workshop.



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SYNTHESIS AND WRAP-UP The final session of the workshop provided an opportunity for every workshop participant to make one comment. Most participants reiterated points they had made earlier, focusing again on the mismatch between NASA’s assigned responsibilities and its resources, and the need for leadership. Collectively, these participants expressed surprise at the “grim attitude” that pervaded the workshop. However, a few participants who had been less vocal used this opportunity to share countervailing viewpoints. One participant, a former reporter for the Washington Post, stated that he was “distressed by the level of defeatism” and surprised that so many of the participants expressed the opinion that space activities had become boring. He added, “I have covered a lot of bureaucracy and you don’t know boring. This is space. Even on its worst day, space is interesting.” A non-U.S. participant thought it ironic that the Americans at the workshop didn’t seem to appreciate that the United States is leading the world in science and technology, and has been doing so since World War II. One participant commented that he was “astonished and disappointed” that the group was dwelling on problems and that he did not see the fortitude to do what needs to be done. He argued that NASA and the science program are both productive, and that “we’re the best in the world at what we do.” He called for political will and leadership, and said that “we need to turn around our thinking.” The workshop did not identify specific solutions to the dilemmas with current space policy, other than to flag some of the potential corrective actions mentioned above, such as giving NASA a compelling geopolitical role (e.g., providing leadership in using space science and technology to address global issues such as climate change or energy resources). The need to identify solutions was articulated by several participants, but such identification was beyond the scope of this workshop. 6

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Appendixes

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