Eric Berger Interviews John Culberson: China-No, Europa-Yes, Asteroid Redirect Mission-No

Eric Berger Interviews John Culberson: China-No, Europa-Yes, Asteroid Redirect Mission-No

The Houston Chronicle’s science writer, Eric Berger, published the text of his interview with Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) in his blog today.  Culberson is viewed as the likely successor to Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) as chair of the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA assuming Republicans retain control of the House in next year’s elections.  Wolf is retiring.

Culberson is already a member of the Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) subcommittee and he and Wolf work closely together and share similar views.   Highlights from Berger’s interview, which can and should be read in its entirety on Berger’s SciGuy blog or as an article in today’s newspaper, include the following (his full answers provide more context than these brief excerpts):

  • Regarding NASA’s proposed Asteroid Redirect Mission:  “It’s not gonna happen.”
  • On whether NASA instead should focus on returning humans to Moon:  “Yes.  Absolutely.”   (Wolf wrote to President Obama yesterday saying the same thing.)
  • On whether he agrees with Wolf on not allowing U.S.-China space cooperation:  “Yes.”
  • On planetary science and a mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa:  “…I’m particularly energized about the planetary science program… I’m certain that there’s life elsewhere in the universe. And I’m also certain that the first place we will discover life on another world is Europa.”

Culberson represents a district that includes Houston, home of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, and he notes in the interview that he is “absolutely devoted to all of NASA and all its missions,” but believes that robotic planetary exploration does not get sufficient attention in Congress.

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