Saturday, 19 March 2011

Mission statement and vision

    * To improve life here, to extend life to there, to find life beyond.[57] — Mission Statement
    * NASA's mission is to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research.[58] — Mission
    * To understand and protect our home planet, to explore the Universe and search for life, and to inspire the next generation of explorers... as only NASA can.[57] — NASA Vision


The chair and ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs wrote NASA Administrator Griffin on July 31, 2006 expressing concerns about the change.[59] NASA also canceled or delayed a number of earth science missions in 2006.[60]

In 2009, NASA announced that the agency plans to provide $1.75 million in funding to Jack Bergman of Harvard’s McLean Hospital to conduct an experiment on monkeys to determine the health effects of radiation exposure during travel in deep space.[61] The plan has faced opposition from animal rights groups such as PETA and HSUS, a physicians’ group PCRM, and several federal legislators led by Representative Jim Moran of Virginia[62] who claim that the grant should be cancelled because during the course of the experiment, the primates will likely contract malignant tumors as well as blindness, skin damage, cognitive decline, premature aging and death. PCRM also claims that the proposed use and isolation of primates would violate NASA's stated principles regarding animal ethics.[63][64] The group has filed a federal complaint alleging that the experiments would also violate the Animal Welfare Act.[65]

Public perception of the NASA budget is very different from reality and has been the subject of controversy since the agency's creation. A 1997 poll reported that Americans had an average estimate of 20% for NASA's share of the federal budget. In reality, NASA's budget has been between 0.5% and 1% from the late 1960s on. NASA budget briefly peaked at over 4% of the federal budget in the mid-1960s during the build up to the Apollo program

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