As mentioned in a previous diary, I was going to mention some of the people who are supporting Obama's re-alignment at NASA. Here I want you to hear it from the scientists mouth, about why this is the right course for NASA
Ladies and Gentleman, I give you Derrick Pitts, Chief Astronomer and Planetarium Director for the Franklin Institute.
(his resume is quite interesting - worth a quick look, IMHO)
This is not the end of NASA. This is not the end of NASA’s manned space program, which is what a lot of people have been saying on the web and elsewhere. I see this as a shake-up that is actually pretty important and may very well be needed desperately by NASA right now.
[The Commercial spaceflight companies] have to rebuild some of it, reconfigure it a little bit, to convert it to cargo to be able to put humans onto it. But when all is said and done, they’re predicting that by 2014, they’ll be putting people into space, into orbit, and be able to put crews onto the space station. I think that’s fantastic.You can listen to the entire innterview, or even listen to the entire interview, by clicking here
Dr. Plait wrote an earlier piece, also defending the President's budget, which you can read here.
Finally, he was recently interviewed by Skepticality, and he talks about Obama's NASA budget at time 18:50, and he talks for 20+ minutes about space (At time 28:25, he talks about the Ares rockets, and talks about the sham that was Ares I-X launch). Anyway, check it out
Normally there is always an argument about science, and human spaceflight. The great thing is, if we get a spacefaring society, and the cultural change at NASA we need, we can get to do A LOT more science, because the cost to do science will come down, and we'll be able to visit more places, both manned and unmanned. Various science proposed missions would benefit from the advanced technology work, because you could fly more instruments much cheaper. And more humans, even if they are there simply to enjoy the view, can provide opportunities for science (although I fully agree, science will never be the main reason to do human spaceflight).