Dr. Griffin

This afternoon Dr. Michael Griffin, NASA‘s administrator, came to speak at UT. I was fortunate enough to be able to hear him, and it was fantastic.

He spent 30 minutes laying out his vision for the next 30 years of space exploration. I won’t go into the details, but his plan includes a large amount of lunar exploration, during which time we’ll be honing our skills and technologies, and then use that knowledge to pursue Mars. I have to say I think his plan is wise.

His vision includes opportunities for entrepreneurs to support NASA’s projects in a variety of roles. This means that Blue Origin, SpaceX and others will have a part to play in NASA’s plan. This is the same agency which effectively squashed Beal Aerospace a few years ago, so this is fantastic news!

I thoroughly enjoyed his presentation. He said a lot of things that I found exciting, but there was one salient quote. A professor asked a question that prompted Griffin to talk about education.

NASA’s role in education is to pursue technologies that are exciting enough to motivate kids to stick with the hard subjects and pursue technical degrees so that they can come participate in these thrilling projects. We have not done a very good job of that for the past 35 years.

I wanted to stand up and start singing! President Bush did a great thing when he appointed an engineer (Griffin holds no less than 5 advanced degrees in engineering) to this position. He’s the right man for the job. I just can’t say enough good things about Dr. Griffin.

I’ve been saying for a while that I don’t want to go to work for NASA. Dr. Griffin changed my perspective. If he’s still the one in charge when I graduate, I’ll submit my resume.