Professor Robert Braun was one of five renowned planetary science and aerospace experts invited to give testimony before the House Committee on Science, Space & Technology on July 28.
The Committee's charge - to review recent NASA achievements in exploring our solar system - was addressed by Braun, NASA Associate Administrator Dr. John Grunsfeld, Southwest Research Institute's Dr. Alan Stern, UCLA's Dr. Christopher Russell, and JPL's Dr. Robert Pappalardo.
One by one, Braun and his noted colleagues spoke about the importance of pushing our country's space program to go deeper into space -- to Pluto, Ceres, Europa, and beyond. Mindful that NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) is currently seeking a .8 percent increase in its Congressional funding, each gave compelling reasons to underwrite their ambitious vision of the future.
"Planetary science is one of America’s crown jewels," said Braun, a former NASA chief technologist and longtime GT-AE professor who testified as a private citizen.
"A unique symbol of our country’s technological leadership and pioneering spirit, this endeavor has consistently demonstrated that the United States is a bold and curious nation interested in discovering and exploring the richness of worlds beyond our own for the betterment of all....these missions are inspirational beacons, pulling young people into educational and career paths aligned with science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the foundation of continued U.S. economic competitiveness and global leadership in a world that is becoming more technologically advanced with each passing year."
Read the entire text of Braun's testimony.
See a webcast of all the testimony on the Committee's website.
In addition to his extensive history at NASA, Braun currently serves as vice chair of the National Research Council’s Space Studies Board and is chair of the Standing Review Board for the Mars 2020 Project. A member of the National Academy of Engineering, Braun was recently appointed to serve as the editor of AIAA's Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets.