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A Manned Mission to Jupiter


It is apparent that the scientific, technological and operational advances
focused into space industrialization will greatly enhance Man's abilities
to explore the solar system probably beginning in the late 1990s.
Above all, the ability for extended missions with complex tasks and ob-
jectives should have been established by that time, enabling such mission(s)
to be undertaken at acceptable cost using then existing capabilities.

Complex mission objectives warrant manned participation. Until then,
unmanned probes will contribute to scientific knowledge of intrinsic value,
as well as knowledge needed for the planning of manned missions.


If a manned mission were to be planned for the 1990s, Jupiter and its
satellite system would, in my opinion, be the goal of greatest scientific
interest, as well as most commensurate with the criteria for an advanced
manned mission and the then expected capabilities. The prime objective of
the mission should be the search for life in Jupiter
unless this issue
can be decided beforehand on the basis of data provided by unmanned probes,
which is doubtful in view of the complexity of the task. Jupiter provides
basically a planetogenically autark environment. Unless its atmosphere can
be shown to contain excessive amounts of heavy water, certain atmospheric
layers could harbor anaerobic life using chemosynthetic metabolisms other
than oxygen metabolism.

The ultimate potential of anaerobic evolution was cut off at an early stage,
due to the rise of aerobic life through photosynthesis. On Jupiter, this
principal bio-evolutionary alternative to our own life evolution may have had
four billion years to progress. In my opinion, this makes Jupiter the most
fascinating goal of future manned planetary exploration.

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Enclosed are abstract and text of my paper, "An Approaching Crisis in NASA-University Relations," which I hope will be of use to your Committee in its consideration of our future national space program.

As my paper deals with management issues, and especially the competition between university groups and NASA centers for space-science contracts, it will probably be quite different from most of those submitted to you. However, I believe it overwhelmingly important that university research groups, which have always been the source of most of our best space science, continue to be supported at a viable level, whatever the particulars of our space program might be. I therefore hope that your Committee might give these management issues the same thorough attention that the technological or scientific aspects of the space program deserve.

I will be happy to cooperate further, in any way that I can, with you and your Committee.

Yours sincerely,

Senge Fuld

George B. Field, Director



George B. Field

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics 23 January 1978


Space-science research groups at American universities are finding it increasingly difficult to compete for NASA contracts. By comparison with other organizations--particularly NASA centers--such groups are small; they cannot recover the cost of bid and proposal preparation, and all project-related expenses must be included in the proposal cost estimates, in contrast to the situation at a NASA center. The Congress is urged to explore ways to restore university research groups to a competitive position, first by encouraging NASA to reaffirm its commitment to support university research. It is also suggested that NASA fund proposal preparation at universities and implement more realistic accounting methods at NASA centers.


George B. Field

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

23 January 1978

Whatever the scientific course of our nation's space-science program, we can be sure that the management and funding patterns of that program will be of ever-increasing concern to Congress, NASA, and the scientific community. In particular, Congress has the duty to make certain that funds granted to NASA for space science are expended in the most scientifically productive way. Because most of our top scientific talent is concentrated in our universities, and because university research groups have always been the source of most of the best space-science research, it is therefore essential that Federal funds received by NASA continue to sustain and nurture university research. The Congress should therefore be aware that university groups are finding it harder and harder to compete for NASA space-science contracts. The effect on university research threatens to become disastrous. are approaching a crisis in NASA-university relations, in spite of the best efforts of NASA management.


The traditional relationship of NASA to the universities has been through the competitive award of contracts and grants to individual Principal Investigators (PI's) at universities. This pattern of university research funding through NASA channels has admirably stood the test of time and will remain in the future the best way to fund such research. However, in an era of inflationweakened support, universities are finding it increasingly difficult to compete for such funding with other larger organizations such as

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