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Who Will Be the Next NASA Administrator?

Mke Griffin
While we’ve been overwhelmed with astronomical news from the AAS meetings this week, meanwhile back at the NASA ranch, Administrator Mike Griffin appears to be on his way to riding off into the sunset. He and all other political appointees from the Bush administration have submitted their letters of resignation as a matter of course, but it’s not expected that Griffin will be asked to stay on. Even though family and friends of Griffin’s have been petitioning to keep him on board, all indications are that Griffin will be replaced. His resignation is effective Jan. 20, the day Barack Obama is sworn in as the new president of the US. There are some lists developing of potential replacements. The trouble is, as happens most of the time, many of these lists are complete speculation. Keith Cowing over at NASA Watch is trying to keep track of it all, sorting out real from not-so-real. Then there’s another list, at Obamanasa.gov – and nothing about the authenticity of this site can be found — where you can actually vote for who you think would best serve as the new head of NASA. And guess who is currently (as of 11:30 am CST) leading the vote count: our very own good friend Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer. Right now he has a comfortable lead (2,614 to 695) over – you’ll never guess: Wil Wheaton, aka Wesley Crusher on Star Trek the Next Generation. OK, you’re probably seeing the legitimacy of this list. But it’s fun, nonetheless, to speculate. So who is really in the running for the NASA Administrator job?

Charles Bolden. A former astronaut who, if chosen, would be the first black NASA administrator. He currently seems to lead the list of potential candidates.

Pete Worden. Currently the Director of NASA’s Ames Research Center, was Commander, 50th Space Wing, at Air Force Space Command, and a professor of Astronomy at the University of Arizona

Sally Ride. The first American woman to fly in space in 1983. She served on the commissions that investigated both the Challenger and Columbia accidents, and wrote an editorial in support of Obama during the presidential election.

Alan Stern. The principal investigator the New Horizons mission to Pluto. He was the associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters, but left abruptly, and later criticized NASA for ongoing cost overruns in space and planetary science missions.

Wesley Huntress. A former NASA space science chief, was key in getting the Hubble Space Telescope and the Galileo probe to Jupiter launched.

Scott Hubbard. Known for turning around NASA’s Mars program after back-to-back failures in the late 1990s, Hubbard was a key member of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. He went on to serve as a director of NASA’s Ames Research Center before leaving the agency for academia.

Don’t think this isn’t a big decision for Obama. The Government Accountability Office rated the impending retirement of NASA’s shuttle orbiter fleet as one of the top 13 issues the new president will have to deal with, and deal with soon. The administration is expected to nominate new NASA leadership before making any significant decisions regarding U.S. space policy and the future of the human spaceflight program.

So, who do you think should be the next NASA Administrator?

Source: Florida Today

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • George Brickner January 9, 2009, 10:04 PM

    Jerry Pournelle.

    The last time the rumor started that Pournelle was going to be appointed head of NASA, NASA people were terrified.

  • Silver Thread January 9, 2009, 4:51 PM

    It really seems obvious, the only man for the job is William Shatner. All others need not apply.

  • Cathy January 9, 2009, 7:25 PM

    In case Silver Thread’s nominee doesn’t work out (after all, he’s busy being the Priceline Negotiator), SCOTT HUBBARD!

  • Dan Tillmanns January 9, 2009, 8:11 PM

    Steve Jobs

  • von Dawson's Express January 10, 2009, 10:06 AM

    What we need (NASA needs…) is another James Webb type and one who stays in the job and does not resign when things go pear shaped and not there way.

  • Astrofiend January 10, 2009, 3:05 PM

    Not sure, but hopefully a scientist, not a bloody astronaut.

  • StarGeezer January 10, 2009, 4:31 PM

    Wesley Crusher (Wheaton). Neither a scientist nor Engineer – please. – And the first order of business – rename NASA to StarFleet.

  • Karl January 11, 2009, 12:08 AM

    Alan Stern

  • RetardedFishFrog January 11, 2009, 7:55 AM

    Retarded FishFrog

  • Mr. Greenjeans January 11, 2009, 1:54 PM

    A panel should be assembled of the following people:

    George W. Bush (he’s the great Decider)

    Al Gore (as a counterbalance to the Decider)

    Dick Cheney (he can tell people to go **** themselves if things don’t go his way, then take them hunting)

    Al Franken (Stewart Smalley is needed for morale)

    Matthew Broderick (to represent the interests of Generation X)

    Bill Gates (to install the latest version of windows, just so it crashes, thereby giving private enterprise a fighting chance to compete)

  • Jesper January 12, 2009, 3:58 AM

    Steve Jobs?! No! He would make all spacecraft run OS X, that can’t be good… But all the spacecraft would look as pretty as MacBooks…

  • Dusty Samoure January 13, 2009, 10:50 AM

    Robert Zubrin of “Mars direct mission” fame should be the next NASA Administrator to scrap the “back to the moon waste of treasury” and push for manned flight to Mars ASAP.

  • Paulo Alto January 13, 2009, 2:17 PM

    The next NASA director will be definitely one of the following :

    Buzz Aldrin Phd knows Space and engineering,
    walked on the Moon .. has been there .. done that..so its Mars first

    Prof. Neil Armstrong knows Space and engineering and education , walked on the Moon

    Sen . John Glenn .. knows Space & Govt
    , Mercury astronaut, Shuttle Astronaut, senior citizen so he knows everything

    Robert Zubrin .. Bob knows Mars better than anyone , Engineer, is practical and can convert Mars CO2 to rocket fuel

    Lori Garver …knows Space , Obama’s Space advisor

    Pete Worden (I think) .He is The former Apollo astronaut who wants to track and destroy Asteroids with Earth’s name on it.

  • MARSH January 13, 2009, 2:32 PM

    “Paulo Alto= is right on

    My vote is for Robert Zubrin who is not a member of the political correct group.

    However , its former astronaut Schweikert who heads the earthbound asteroid detection destroyer group and not Pete Worden !

  • we are January 13, 2009, 2:38 PM

    “Joepa” or ‘Bobby”
    have the longevity and toughness for the job
    and will never resign

  • Pam January 16, 2009, 4:49 PM

    Pete Worden sounds the most qualified to lead NASA.
    His experience: Director NASA’s Ames Research Center, he most likely understands how NASA operates.

    Commaner, 50th Space Wing, he knows how to lead people and get things done.

    Professor of Astronomy, University of AZ…he knows something about our universe. (That’s helpful)
    He has my vote.

  • von Dawson's Express January 20, 2009, 12:22 PM

    How about a Russian for the job?
    and the first thing he could do is rename the ISS ‘Space Station Clarke’ after Sir Arthur.

  • Kuz February 24, 2009, 3:17 PM

    Neil DeGrasse Tyson, nuff said

  • How to Get Six Pack Fast April 15, 2009, 8:01 AM

    The style of writing is quite familiar . Did you write guest posts for other blogs?

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