From the audience, Hammel said that she would send people two places in space: back to the Hubble Space Telescope and to an asteroid as a steppingstone to Mars, a better steppingstone than the Moon in her opinion. Bingham pointed out that the 2010 NASA Authorization Act directs NASA to contract with the NRC to do a study of what the next destination should be for human spaceflight, and he is content to await that answer. Bonnet said, in terms of what humans can do usefully in space, there is education on the ISS and repairing space telescopes. He suggests a space station at the L2 Lagrange point where astronauts could repair telescopes like the James Webb Space Telescope that will be located there. He supports Hammel’s choice of asteroids, and Mars’s moon Phobos, as possible destinations as well.

In conclusion, Kaufman said that he would like to see the ISS used for the science that was promised at the beginning of the program and reiterated his support for commercial human spaceflight. Billings observed that, from her standpoint of following the ISS for 27 years, there has been little effort to explain how the ISS serves foreign policy. She thinks that careful thought be given to where the human spaceflight program is going and that it needs to be global: “we are all crewmembers on spaceship Earth and we need to think about our future … collectively.” Bingham said that he thinks we can accomplish great things in space if we have the will, and communications is a key to that. Robinson repeated his theme that eventually humans would make the solar system their “neighborhood,” but now is not the time. Now is the time to focus on the health of Earth, in his view.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement