The public is being given an opportunity to shape NASA's future direction with the instigation of an annual open consultation conference to help the agency draw up roadmaps for strategy and capability development.

The 12 strategy areas include sustained long-term robotic and human exploration of Mars, nuclear systems and robotic exploration of the Solar System. The 15 capability areas include human planetary landing systems, nanotechnology and in-space transportation.

Proposals presented at the first conference, to be held in Washington DC on 30 November, must fit into NASA's new space exploration initiative. "It's a chance for the public to put forward an argument," says NASA's Advanced Planning and Integration Office. "Each team will evaluate the ideas and it could influence NASA if it is sound thinking."

NASA considers the consultation process, the output of which will be reviewed by the US National Academy of Sciences, one of its major responses to the recommendations of the February Aldridge Commission report on implementation of the US space exploration initiative.



Source: Flight International