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To Boldly Go, or Not

A Public Hearing Case Study



Author:

Erik Zavrel
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Cornell University
eaz29@cornell.edu

Abstract:

This fictional public forum case study is centered on the 2004 decision by President George W. Bush to set NASA’s primary goal as a return to the Moon, followed by a mission to Mars. The members on the expert panel and audience are fictitious but the views they express on the Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) are representative of those articulated by actual advocacy groups, scientists, engineers, space enthusiasts, and lay persons. The case is not simply about public policy, but touches upon the relative merits and deficiencies of manned space exploration and robotic space exploration, the consumer products and industries derived from the space program, the scientific rationale for a return to the Moon, as well as what worthwhile space missions may be terminated as a result of the VSE.

Objectives:
  • Recognize that government agencies are run by people who have differing interests and views.
  • Realize that many citizens expect scientific programs funded by public tax dollars to return material benefits.
  • Be able to draw historical parallels to present situations.
  • Have an appreciation for carefully analyzing proposed large-scale science projects and programs for non-scientific motives.
  • Learn the reasons for and against a space mission to the Moon.
Keywords: Manned space exploration; space program; Vision for Space Exploration; VSE; Moon-to-Mars; NASA; George W. Bush
Topical Area: Policy issues, Social issues
Educational Level: High school, Undergraduate lower division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Public Hearing, Dilemma/Decision, Role-Play
Language: English
Subject Headings: Science (General)   Aerospace Engineering  
Date Posted: 07/03/08
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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