For once (well, for once since the space shuttle program ended), NASA is totally on a roll. Curiosity has been an incredible, wondrous success, Sally Ride came out — sadly, posthumously, but it was wonderful to acknowledge that this true hero was also playing for our team – and now, the agency is looking for our opinions. Literally.
You can now offer advice on what NASA’s plans should be. The National Research Council is conducting an independent study on NASA’s strategic direction, soliciting comments from experts in science, technology, and space policy — and they’re also asking the public to get involved.
In their public comment section, the NRC will ask what you think NASA’s vision, budget, and international collaboration program should be. But hurry — the public commenting period ends tomorrow, Aug. 17!
I mean, personally, as a nerd and a big believer in the idea that we should be exploring the cosmos (in every possible way), I want to see a manned (and womanned!) mission to Mars. The inner child in me also wants a jetpack, a spaceship, and for basically everything depicted in every Star Trek series to be real, but you, know, I’ll settle for humanity’s first flight to another planet. Baby steps.
What’s especially cool about this is the fact that NASA is finally learning smart PR. Coming off of Curiosity, folks are (finally!) excited about space travel and human achievement again. Now is the time to solicit opinions and take stock of just what is possible, especially for an agency where “the sky’s the limit” has never strictly been true.
Anyway, if you’re interested in sending lesbians to Mars (the best premise for a sci-fi flick ever conceived, maybe they can call it Bi-Curiosity?), or simply want to be a part of the conversation, check out the public forum and post away.