Purdue University President Mitch Daniels is scheduled to speak before a U.S. House committee about human space flight. The former Governor of Indiana leads a university with a long tradition in the space program. Twenty-three Purdue graduates have become astronauts, including the late Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon, and Eugene Cernan, the most recent person to walk on the moon. Purdue graduates flew on Gemini and Apollo flights, 47 space shuttle missions and on the International Space Station. Also a Purdue grad – Crown Point's own Jerry Ross, who was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame this year.
At a U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology hearing tomorrow (Wednesday June 25), Daniels will be joined by Jonathan Lunine, director of Cornell University's Center for Radiophysics and Space Research. Daniels and Lunine co-chaired the National Research Council's Committee on Human Spaceflight. The committee issued its report, "Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration," earlier this month.
The report, which examined the goals of the U.S. human spaceflight program and offered recommendations for a sustainable program moving forward, is the subject of the Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing.
Daniels is expected to tell the House panel that the Committee on Human Spaceflight believes a strong case can be made for continuing the nation's human spaceflight program if a pathways approach is taken. That approach would require the government to come to a consensus on achieving a highly disciplined set of objectives from which the nation would not deviate over time and for which stable funding would be provided.
More information on "Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration" can be found at http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=18801.
The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology is chaired by Lamar Smith (R-Texas). Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.) is a member of the committee and chairman of its Subcommittee on Research. He is a physician who represents southern Indiana.
Wednesday's hearing, which begins at 10 a.m., will be webcast live at http://science.house.gov/hearing/full-committee-hearing-pathways-exploration-review-future-human-space-exploration.
The National Research Council is part of the National Academies, an organization that produces reports used to help shape policies, inform public opinion and advance science, engineering and medicine. In addition to the National Research Council, the National Academies is composed of the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine.