29 January 2002
Online - General (None)
Planetary Society Survey
None of the above
by Peter Wainwright
By Carol Pinchefsky and Peter Wainwright

According to a CNN article, we can now suggest how NASA should spend its budget via an online survey. The Planetary Society is lending the space administration a hand by hosting the poll at their Web site.

No where in the poll can the public specify that we don't consider planetary missions to be the top priority. It isn't possible to give preference to earth or space-based astronomy, and no where can we express a desire to develop the commercial use of space, particularly space tourism. NASA excels at phrasing questions like this in terms which suit the answer it wants to get.

In any case, deciding which bodies in the solar system are worthy of further examination seems a strange thing to to submit to public opinion. Historically, looking in unexpected places yielded more results than the expected ones. For example, when Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 examined the moons of Jupiter, scientists expected them to be uniform, gray, cratered spheres like our moon. The reality was far different.

The survey ends January 31, 2002, so you had better hurry. It does not seem to be limited to citizens of the United States.
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Peter Wainwright 29 January 2002
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