Professor Maria T. Zuber, head of the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, has been appointed to the Presidential Commission on Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy.
The panel will develop a plan to realize President Bush's recently announced vision of long-term human and robotic space exploration, starting with a return to the moon and leading eventually to manned trips to Mars and possibly other destinations.
Among other things, the group is charged with recommending a science research agenda to be conducted on the moon and elsewhere in space; criteria that could be used to select future destinations for human exploration; roles for potential private-sector and international participants; and ways to use space exploration to encourage children to pursue careers in mathematics, science and engineering.
The nine-member NASA-funded commission is headed by former Air Force Secretary Edward C. Aldridge Jr. and includes business leaders, scientists and other space flight experts. It is required to make recommendations within four months.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 11, 2004.