Grunsfeld May Lead NASA Science Division

[/caption]The current buzz amongst those in the know say that astrophysicist/astronaut, John Grunsfeld, has been chosen to lead NASA’s science mission directorate. Self-confessed “Hubble Hugger” and telescope repair man may very well become NASA associate administrator in September, according to a news article in Nature. As current deputy director of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, Grunsfeld will be replacing the resigning Ed Weiler.

“John is a very capable guy,” Weiler was quoted by writer Eric Hand in Nature. “He knows both the human and robotic sides. He’s a very solid citizen.”

However, NASA spokesman Trent Perrotto says no appointment has yet been made official.

Nature reports that the five-time shuttle astronaut could likely be the top choice of NASA administrator Charles Bolden, also a former shuttle pilot, and may display just a bit of favoritism towards fellow astronauts. “Clearly, he’s Charlie’s pick,” says one person with knowledge of the selection.

But Nature quotes another science source that Grunsfeld might not be the right pick. Apparently he/she believes that NASA-backed scientists who aren’t part of the astronomy field shouldn’t be a prime candidate. “His entire reputation is based on fixing space telescopes,” says the scientist. “I think it will be a real tough slog for him.”

Read more in Nature News.

And we’ll keep you posted of any official announcements.

Original Story Source: Nature News.

Tammy Plotner

Tammy was a professional astronomy author, President Emeritus of Warren Rupp Observatory and retired Astronomical League Executive Secretary. She’s received a vast number of astronomy achievement and observing awards, including the Great Lakes Astronomy Achievement Award, RG Wright Service Award and the first woman astronomer to achieve Comet Hunter's Gold Status. (Tammy passed away in early 2015... she will be missed)

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