Status Report

Transcript of Exchange Between Rep. Gordon and Presidential Science Advisor Marburger

By SpaceRef Editor
February 13, 2004
Filed under ,

Gordon: Well let me put it this way.  Dr. Marburger said that he went through a very extensive program, lots of meetings, that it was an environment, as he said that was “information rich.”  And you told me that the President was very engaged in this.  Now surely the President wouldn’t have a pig in a poke.  Did the President never ask you what this was going to cost?

O’Keefe: Yes.

Marburger: I think it’s important to realize that this is not at….

Gordon: I’ve got a limited amount of time…

Marburger: …this is not a single mission Apollo like program and the…

Gordon: Right, well take any, again…

Marburger: the FY, the FY 05…

Gordon: …If I could please, if I could please, because we, because I’m going to lose time.  You know, you take anything you want.  You know, just tell me, did the President in this discussion at any time say, “Well what is this going to cost?”

Marburger: Absolutely, and the FY 05…

Gordon: Ok.  And what was your answer?

Marburger: The President’s budget request has multi-year budget commitments that he’s prepared to support that go beyond….

Gordon: Is there anything beyond the 5 years?

Marburger: (holding up budget chart): Yes it goes out to 2020…2020 as a matter of fact.

Gordon: And are there budget numbers that go with that?

Marburger: And there is a budget profile that goes with that – it’s calibrated, in I presume, 2004 dollars – it goes up.

Gordon: So what’s it going to cost…so, I didn’t see it…so what’s the cost by 2020 to go the moon.

Marburger: You’d have to integrate under that curve to find the total cost but the curve goes up on a line that’s quite consistent with the FY’04 approved budget profile…

Gordon: Ok, so what is that cost?

Marburger: …up to about, uh…the NASA budget in the year 2020 according to this would be about, what is that, 22 billion dollars.

Gordon: But what’s that cumulative cost then to get the moon by 2020?

Marburger: I mean this includes the entire NASA budget and there are components, it looks like only about two thirds of that…

Gordon: But then again, if I could, did the President never ask you what the cost of this program was going to be?

Marburger: The President understands that we are enabling all future space exploration by…by putting into place…

Gordon: Ok, please, you know please, just, we have a short amount of time.  Let me ask you this, if I could ask this.  Did the President ever ask you what this was going to cost?  Yes or no please.

Marburger: Yes, of course.

Gordon: And what did you tell him?

Marburger: And we showed him this chart, and…

Gordon: Ok, all right, and what is that?  Could you tell me?  Could you add that up and tell me what that means, then?

Marburger:   I mean, I can’t, I would have to do some calculations on this chart.  The…

Gordon: So you didn’t…you haven’t done the calculations before?

Marburger: Yes, I’m sorry.  This, uh, these precise numbers that you are asking me here are not part of what I carry in my head.

Gordon: I’m just…a general number of what’s it going to…you know did the President ever ask you what is it going to cost to go to the Moon?

Marburger: Actually, the question of going to the Moon is part of the program that would be accomplished according to the timetables in this budget…

Gordon: Ok, please, I’m not trying to be argumentative…

Marburger: Well we’re right in…there…I’m looking at the same pictures that you are.

Gordon: All right, so when the President asked you what it’s going to cost, you didn’t tell him, you just gave him this chart?

Marburger: No, there are tables of numbers associated with this that do appear in the FY05 President’s request.

Gordon: Ok, did the President ever ask you what anything was going to cost?

Marburger: Yes, of course.

Gordon: Ok, what did he ask you and what did you tell him?

Marburger: I’d like to respond to that in writing so that I can be sure of my response. 

Gordon: Ok, so you…

Marburger: I would prefer not to try to calculate it from this graph.

Gordon: So, but you won’t have to calculate it…if you were there in this environment rich you don’t remember him asking you what anything was going to cost and what you told him?

Marburger: No, I’m sorry, Mr. Congressman, that I’m unable to answer these questions that you’re asking me in precisely this form.  The emphasis, the emphasis in this vision is on…

Gordon: ok, well I’ve gotta go on…

Marburger: …affordable, sustainable, affordable budget…

Gordon: Ok, well, I’ve gotta stop, so let me…you said you were going to…

Marburger: So we do not want to devote more of our discretionary budget than we can afford in any one year and we will adjust the timetables in this budget to suit that.

Gordon: I understand it all depends.  Again, you said you will respond to me.  My question to you was, did the President ever ask you what anything was going to cost?

Marburger: Yes

Gordon: What were those various things that he asked?  And what did you respond?  You don’t have to do it now, that’s fine.

Marburger: And I’d be glad to respond.

SpaceRef staff editor.