For professional guidance the ASA Aerospace R&D Committee will consult and coordinate with professional organizations such as the AIAA and citizen organizations with aerospace interests and programs such as the Planetary Society. It should be noted that ASA interest in aerospace R&D includes a geographical perspective broader than the present system of federal installations, prime contractors and research universities located in a few handfull of states. It would be in the interest of many states that a portion of aerospace R&D funds were allocated to the underrepresented half of all states according to the formula used by the National Science Foundation EPSCOR program (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research).
Pending enhanced capabilities in more states there is one aerospace program that has come in the public eye in which ALL states have an interest and capability. Given the recent visit to and crash with Terra by NEOs (Near Earth Objects) the subject of Planetary Defense has gained visibility. According to the AIAA position paper “Protecting Earth from asteroids and comets” planning for such an unlikely but potentially catastrophic event should be undertaken by all levels of domestic and foreign governments, including states and provinces. Such state planning could – and should- be funded by the federal government. And as for the NASA human flight program if we plan for astronauts to visit an asteroid their mission might include to try to budge the orbit of their host.
Michael Fulda, Chair
Interactive area for Aerospace R&D Committee