The National Space Society vision is people living and working in space

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 5, 2004


NSS TO ALDRIDGE COMMISSION:
EXPLORE TO CREATE A SPACEFARING CIVILIZATION

Executive Director states strong support for Exploration Vision;
Urges Commission to integrate space settlement, private industry, and direct public participation

WASHINGTON, DC - National Space Society Executive Director George Whitesides testified at the final hearing of the President's Commission on Moon, Mars and Beyond in New York City. Committing NSS to support the Exploration Vision, Whitesides urged the Commission to closely integrate public participation and private industry, while emphasizing that the goal of exploration must be space settlement.

"We must all evangelize an exploration society predicated on settlement," stated Whitesides. "This, ultimately, is the real cause for the exploration we seek: to create a spacefaring civilization - a civilization of vibrant communities living and working beyond Earth."

NSS has long advocated a roadmap for exploration that is reflected in the architecture of the new vision. Returning to the Moon and on to Mars is the right way to move forward, as long as it builds infrastructure and capacity of private industry along the way.

"The degree to which this initiative stimulates and establishes private enterprise throughout the solar system will be the central indicator of whether it will have a lasting impact on our society." Whitesides continued: "Settlement is the destination for exploration's efforts; without it, exploration is a dead end."

The National Space Society will be announcing a major campaign to support the Vision at its annual conference, the International Space Development Conference, May 27-31. This will include local, regional and national education campaigns to promote space exploration.

"Exploration is a truly noble goal," Whitesides concluded. "It is worthy of society's strong support, worthy indeed of weaving into the very fabric of our civilization. It expands the perspective of us all - at a moment in history when such perspective may be the key to solving our most intractable problems."

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Full text of the testimony is available from http://www.nss.org/news/Aldridge_20040505.pdf.

The National Space Society (NSS) is an independent, international, grassroots organization dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization. NSS has more than 20,000 supporters and 50 chapters in the United States and around the world. Founded in 1974, NSS is widely acknowledged as the preeminent citizen's voice on space.

The International Space Development Conference (ISDC) will bring together leaders from all areas of the new world of space, including Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin, Courtney Stadd, Rick Tumlinson, and Dr. Robert Zubrin. It will be held May 27-31 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. For more information, visit the conference homepage: www.isdc2004.org.


For More Information:
George Whitesides
Executive Director
(202) 429-1600
george@nss.org


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