To Boldly Go, or Not
A Public Hearing Case Study
Department of Biomedical Engineering
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.
- 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.
KeywordsManned space exploration; space program; Vision for Space Exploration; VSE; Moon-to-Mars; NASA; George W. Bush
Topical AreasPolicy issues, Social issues
Educational LevelHigh school, Undergraduate lower division
Type / MethodsPublic Hearing, Dilemma/Decision, Role-Play
Subject HeadingsScience (General) | Aerospace Engineering |
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