Three NASA advisers resign

Whether by choice or because they were asked, three science committee members have parted ways with NASA.
By | Published: August 21, 2006 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
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August 21, 2006
NASA’s Advisory Council science committee, a body that advises NASA Administrator Michael Griffin on issues facing the space agency, now has three fewer advisers. The space agency announced the resignations of Wesley T. Huntress, Jr., Charles F. Kennel, and Eugene Levy August 16. NASA Advisory Council Chair Harrison H. Schmitt said of their abrupt departure in a status-report memo, “Each of these individuals provided valuable input to the Science Committee and the Council during the time in which they served, and both Mike [Griffin] and I are grateful to them for this service.”
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While adviser Kennel offered his resignation, Huntress and Levy did not — Griffin asked them to resign. Levy believes the three advisers’ push to keep NASA’s science program broad “didn’t comport with the kind of advice that the administrator and the chairman of the committee were looking for.” Levy also said he was “a little unclear” whether his outspokenness regarding NASA’s science budget cuts had anything to do with his forced resignation.

Levy, Huntress, and Kennel have recently been critical of NASA limiting its science budget to a paltry 1.5-percent growth in 2007 and a nearly stagnant 1-percent growth each year through 2010. Although the former advisers were unavailable for comment, Huntress told Space News, “This was not a science-budget protest,” adding the “resignations were over principle.”

Kennel, who voluntarily resigned, is the author of the article, “Don’t abandon science at NASA,” published in the July/August 2006 issue of The Planetary Report.