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The American Competitiveness Initiative has resulted in increases in funding for such scientific endeavors as the National Science Foundation and the Office of Science in the Department of Energy. It is hard to argue that the science pursued by the NSF and the DoE Office of Science is fundamentally different from the science pursued by space and Earth science in NASA. All yield fundamental knowledge important for U.S. competitiveness. It is interesting to note that had space and Earth science in NASA received the same percentage increases as the NSF in FY2007 it would have followed its historical rate of growth in funding.

There is an important policy decision to make. Should funding for space and Earth science be tied to the fortunes of the human exploration program of NASA and be funded in proportion to what the nation is prepared to spend on space? Or should space and Earth science be viewed as in integral part of the scientific fabric of the nation, and be funded in proportion to what the nation is prepared to invest in science? I personally would argue for the latter.

Thank you very much.



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