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NASA Chief Steps Down Without Any Clear Replacement in Sight

newmisty

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And another one swirls the drain...


NASA Chief Steps Down Without Any Clear Replacement in Sight



Robert Lightfoot, the current Acting Administrator of NASA, just announced his retirement today in a surprise statement.

As of now, Lightfoot will be stepping down on April 30, 2018 after having served as the de facto chief of NASA for over a year, when he took over for his predecessor Charles Bolden. It's worth noting that as the Acting Administrator, Lightfoot was never officially confirmed as the head of the space agency, but since the Senate never confirmed anybody to be Bolden's replacement, leadership duties fell to Lightfoot.

The current frontrunner for the job has been Trump's appointee Jim Bridenstine, but there's still no clear indication that he'll be confirmed for the position - Senate Democrats and even a few Republicans like Marco Rubio have opposed Bridenstine on the grounds that he has zero qualifications in science or engineering, and he's dismissive of scientific consensus that humans caused climate change (NASA also studies our home planet's climate).

It's entirely possible that somebody else within NASA will be pushed into the "Acting" Administrator role once again, and NASA will continue to have no official leader as the agency faces a shaky future.

View image on Twitter


Spaceflight Now@SpaceflightNow


Robert Lightfoot, NASA’s longest-serving interim administrator, announces his retirement as the space agency’s future leadership remains in limbo. https://spaceflightnow.com/2018/03/12/robert-lightfoot-nasas-longest-serving-interim-administrator-announces-retirement/ …

5:12 PM - Mar 12, 2018
Twitter Ads info and privacy





Lightfoot hasn't given a reason for his upcoming retirement, and in his letter of resignation, he only reflected on the years he spent at the space agency (he first joined NASA in 1989 as a test engineer and program manager, and held various positions since then). The optimistic guess is that he simply decided his mid-fifties are a great time to retire; the pessimistic guess is that he doesn't like where NASA is headed under the Trump administration.

Because while NASA's upcoming plans are exciting, the White House's plans for NASA are much less so. Funding for NASA was quickly slashed under the new administration's budget plan, and Trump is hoping to either shut down the International Space Station in the next several years or sell it off to private companies - if either happens, the important research that occurs there will come to an end.

With everything that NASA is currently dealing with, it's entirely possible that certain projects like the asteroid redirect mission or the Europa flyby could be cancelled. Bigger projects like the advanced SLS rocket or Orion spacecraftcould be canned if they aren't managed efficiently under the tight budget. A lunar space station is still possible only because Trump seems to like the Moon, and room for that was added to the budget.



But most importantly, our chances of reaching Mars depend on who replaces Lightfoot as the official/unofficial leader of NASA. Unmanned rovers may still visit the Red Planet from time to time, but the plans to send humans to Mars are complicated and very expensive (and would likely involve the SLS rocket). It would be easy to delay or dismiss the project entirely, so the next head of NASA will have some big decisions to make.

It would be a huge deal if NASA wasn't the first to send humans to Mars. Because it likely means that Elon Musk will win this new space race and send SpaceX astronauts there first.



https://www.outerplaces.com/science/item/18004-nasa-chief-resigns-replacement
 

the_shootist

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NASA is the sign of things to come. The alphabet agencies will slowly slide off into the abyss.

then again, maybe not!
 

gringott

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Climate change. Talk about beating a dead horse.

I will remind the author of the article in the OP that Congress, and only Congress, appropriates funding.
The President submits a "suggested" budget, it is up to Congress to direct funding as they see fit.
Bottom line, we have the NASA Congress funds.
 

the_shootist

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Climate change. Talk about beating a dead horse.

I will remind the author of the article in the OP that Congress, and only Congress, appropriates funding.
The President submits a "suggested" budget, it is up to Congress to direct funding as they see fit.
Bottom line, we have the NASA Congress funds.
Still Trump's fault!:belly laugh:
 

mayhem

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Scorpio

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Not a fan that we no longer have the capacity to lift large loads, where it is contracted to the chins or the red star

Would prefer Nasa was actually science based, rather than so politicized with the flavor of the month ie go to mars or go to moon, whatever the poli thinks he can sell
 

Uglytruth

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When you have them (things like NASA, global warming scientists) by the wallets their hearts and minds will follow.

These people produce nothing, and are reliant on govt funding, study's, grants etc.......
 

DodgebyDave

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The cast of Star Trek was visiting NASA, the one thing that everyone noticed was how all of the silly little gizmos on the show were now reality and part of the space program.

NASA doesn't produce anything...because......it isn't NASA's job to produce anything! NASA is the consumer. Rocketdyne builds the rocket motors.

Tang: wasn't invented for the space program! While used, again, John Glenn never produced squat. He was the consumer. Also, I love tang.



Also....a shameless attempt at the promotion of The Sammich as official space food (especially spam)

Also about the pic. They assembled and consumed. They did not create. It wasn't their job to do that. Their job is doing space stuff. Collecting reams of indecipherable data that just pesters the feck out of earthbound misfits.

There is one really great challenge left in space travel, might as well deal with it now. Poop in space. No shit, it is a problem. It's quite indignant to poop in a bag then toss it out the window to float around in orbit or worse.............blasting through interstellar space at warp 12.7.........

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/space-poop-challenge

So, we have to come up with a solution for this tish
 

Usury

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#12
Ill just say No Way that con artist Musk gets humans to Mars and back alive in our lifetimes.
 

gringott

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They need to create a very safe launch vehicle and send this radioactive waste lying around to Alpha Centauri or something.
 

Joe King

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Ill just say No Way that con artist Musk gets humans to Mars and back alive in our lifetimes.
Is getting them back actually part of the plan?


They need to create a very safe launch vehicle
There's no such thing now, or probably ever. Launching large amounts of nuke waste into space would likely be a really bad thing to do.
 

Usury

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DodgebyDave

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If you ask me, given the nature of the beast......we have done pretty well in the safety dept. there aren't any corpus delecti floating in space or sitting on the moon. Yet. If you wanna play in space, sooner or later people are gonna die in space, from natural causes or otherwise.

You can make book on this......If I ever get off this rock I ain't comin back, that is for sure!