SFF PR — Jacksonville, FL — During last night’s Republican presidential debate, Governor Mitt Romney stated that “a moonbase would be an enormous expense,” and later stated that if someone had come to him saying they had wanted to spend a few hundred billion dollars to put a colony on the moon, he would’ve said “You’re fired.”
Today, it was revealed that former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin is member of the Romney Space Policy Advisory Group. This is the same NASA Administrator who was the chief architect of an unaffordable and unsustainable plan to return humans to the Moon that would have cost about $200 Billion.
We can only assume that Gov. Romney did not know who Mike Griffin is or what he did as NASA Administrator when he asked Griffin to serve in his group of space policy leaders. At the time of its cancellation, the Augustine Committee, a national committee composed of military, civilian and commercial space leaders, concluded that Mike Griffin’s strategy would only work if NASA received a $3 Billion per year budget increase to $22 Billion. This would result in a total cost that was almost $200 Billion.
“Confronted with Mike Griffin’s plan to return to the Moon, Mitt Romney would have fired Griffin and rightly so,” said Will Watson, Executive Director of the Space Frontier Foundation.
While Romney has stated that he wants more discussion with a diversified group of professional space people to determine the future of America’s space program, the SFF is concerned that his current collection tells a very different story. It raises serious questions in the minds of space activists about whether Governor Romney fully understands the issues. Sometimes personnel reflects policy.
“While Governor Romney stated he would like to have much more commercial space participation in his government, only 1 of the 8 people on his group is a serious and credible commercial space leader,” continued Mr. Watson. “We fear that he is already being circled and trapped by unsustainable space interests.”
We are encouraged that Governor Romney realizes the importance of space. At this time however, we strongly urge Governor Romney to cast a much wider net for space policy advisors.