Bobby Braun at MIT – 2011 MA Space Grant Consortium Public Lecture


[MUSIC PLAYING] HOFFMAN: We are very happy to
present the 21st annual Space Grant, Massachusetts Space
Grant distinguished lecture. This has been going on since the
very beginning of Space Grant. I am the director of
the Massachusetts Space Grant, Jeff Hoffman. I guess a lot of you know me. And fortunately we
have given all of you a description of today’s
speakers background so I can keep my
remarks to a minimum. We are very fortunate to
have NASA’s chief technology officer, Bobby Braun. And the few things that
aren’t in the write-up are that he got his doctorate
at Stanford University and spent 16 years
at NASA Langley. Is now a professor at Georgia
Tech and is basically on leave to work at NASA And
his chief area of research is hypersonic technology,
atmospheric reentry for planetary exploration. And if any of you are planning
a reentry to planet Earth, Bobby’s your man. So with that, Bobby,
we’re looking forward to hearing your talk. [APPLAUSE] BRAUN: Thank you, Jeff. Can you guys, you can
hear me in the back? OK. Thank you for the introduction. Thank you for the
invitation to be here today. I’m actually, I’m
really happy to be here. You can only imagine how
happy I am to be here. Anytime I get to go
to a college campus these days is a treat for me. And while I do love to do
atmospheric entry research at NASA or at Georgia
Tech, the truth is it’s been a while since I’ve
actually been able to do that. Because as chief
technologist at NASA I deal with some
other kinds of, I wouldn’t quite
call them physics, but other kinds of issues. I want to talk to you
today about where NASA is headed in my personal opinion. And through this talk,
I want to explain– you’ll probably get
a good feel for why I left Georgia Tech, temporarily. Why I left Georgia Tech
on a leave of absence to go to Washington. It’s because I believe in
NASA and I believe in the plan that NASA has created for
our space exploration future. For exploration and for science. And I want to talk to you
about that plan here today. I’m going to talk
for a little while, I’m going to give
you some background. I’m going to talk about this
new line in the NASA budget called the space
technology program and what that means
for all of our futures. And then there’ll
be plenty of time towards the end for questions. And I’d be happy to take any
questions about the material that I cover. I’d also be happy
to take questions about other aspects of
NASA that I may or may not touch on in this talk. So let me start with in
the beginning almost. We’ve had a lot of
major anniversaries in the last few years. Does anyone know
what tomorrow is? Anybody? Anybody raise your hand
if you know what tomorrow is from a historical context. Nobody knows? This is MIT! Come on! Where were my policy people? I’ll give you a hint,
it’s a policy question. No, it’s not a flight. President Kennedy’s speech. Not the most famous one
at Rice University but. His speech to Congress
Very important speech where he talked about his plan
to send humans to the moon and return them safely to
the Earth within the decade. Right? A plan that was going
to measure and organize the best of our
energies and skills. That’s really what it
was all about to him. It was about
measuring and organize the best of our collective
energies and skills. It wasn’t really about going
to the moon and coming back. It was about proving the
technological, in that time, I would use the
word superiority. Today I wouldn’t
use that phrase. But proving the technical
competence of the United States of America. President Kennedy had
a bold vision for NASA. He spoke about this
vision in Congress. He spoke about this
vision across the country. And when he spoke, people
around the country came. They heard his cry. They joined NASA. They joined companies
in aerospace and they accomplished
something together that is truly remarkable. They built rockets
37 stories high. They built engines more
powerful than anything that had ever been
created at that time. And they sent 12 brave
heroes on a journey farther from the earth than anyone
had ever been before. And frankly, anyone
who’s ever been since. By fusing the imagination
and creativity of their time, these young
scientists and engineers that were pouring out of
our nation’s universities and going into NASA, they
made a lasting imprint on this country. Yes, they accomplished
the vision of sending humans to the moon
and returning them safely within the decade. But they did so much more. They made an impact in our
national security landscape. They made an impact to our
economic competitiveness. They created new
products and services that spun off into new
businesses around this country and created high tech jobs. They did many things. Now, as great as
Apollo was, I’m going to tell you a little secret. It’s a very personal
secret but I’ll share it with you here today. I don’t remember Apollo. I Don’t remember it at all. I actually feel
really bad about it. I should remember. I’m NASA’s chief technologist,
I should remember Apollo. It was a great feat. It was perhaps the
major astronautical feat of our country. But I don’t remember. Now, maybe you can’t blame me. I was four years old at the
time that Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. But still in the
back of my mind I think I should be
able to remember this. I mean, I remember certain
things from my childhood, but I don’t remember Apollo. And when I go
around the country, as I do now in
this new capacity, I run into all kinds of people
like me that are roughly my age, perhaps younger
, perhaps in their ’30s. People like you, perhaps in your
20s that only know about Apollo through the history books. Thank God for the history
books, by the way. But that’s the way that
I know about Apollo. And so I am a faculty member
and I do live in Georgia. And if you go out– I live outside of Atlanta. I live out in the
country a little bit. And if you go out in the
night sky, you go out at night and you look up in the night sky
in Georgia away from the city, the stars are just amazing. And I do this a lot. I have a very small
farm in Georgia. I go out and I look
at the night sky and I spend a lot of time
thinking about Apollo and about you know,
did I miss it? Did I miss the one and
only time where space was important for our country. Not just for space but
for economic reasons and for national
security reasons. And for global
competitiveness reasons. And I think about, well what
is my generation’s space race? Right? You remember that Apollo
was called a space race because we were racing
against the Russians to accomplish this goal. Soviet Union racing
against the Soviet Union to accomplish this goal. The Russians are now
of course our partners in space exploration, and that’s
also a very positive thing. But I think, you know,
where’s my Apollo? Where’s your Apollo? And I teach a course
at Georgia Tech, it’s probably a lot like the
introduction to aerospace– aeroastro, I guess
you call it here. Aeroastro courses
that you have here I teach an introduction to
aerospace engineering course. And one of the things I do
with the incoming freshmen is we talk a lot about why are
they going into engineering. Why in particular are they going
into aerospace engineering. And we talk about their
hopes and their dreams of their careers. And so I want to
share with you today. My list. This is not a NASA slide,
by the way this, next slide. This is my personal view
of potential futures. And these futures are not
so far away, by the way. This is a slide
that I made for my, as I said, for my introduction
to aerospace engineering class at Georgia Tech. This is a slide that I made
long before I was back at NASA as the chief technologist. These are nine, you can call
them paradigm changes or game changing possibilities for
our civil space program. These are nine things
that I honestly believe are within our
grasp technologically. They might be just outside our
grasp today but in my lifetime, I believe that we as a nation
could accomplish these things. And there’s some pretty
lofty goals here. Without going, through the
whole list, being able to predict or forecast major
storms and natural disasters but in time to move the
population out of harm’s way. That’s something that
there is example, after example, after example
in our very recent past of where such a capability
would be of tremendous value. Think no further back to
just a few weeks ago in Japan or anytime in the
last few years. You can think of
several examples there. Think about an asteroid
defense system. We all know there
are lots of asteroids we know there are lots of
earth crossing asteroids and asteroids in
Earth’s vicinity. We also know that at one point
in time one of those asteroids, it’s a very low
probability event, but at sometime one of those
asteroids will come our way. What separates us
from the dinosaurs? We have a space program. We should be ready to
deal with that event we can develop engineering
mitigation strategies today or in the next decade
for such an event. The search for life. I think this is in
the sciences, this is one of the most
profound questions that one could ask you. Are we alone? I’ve actually worked a lot
in the robotic program. In particular, the
program that has sent spacecraft, robotic
spacecraft to Mars. And our robotic Mars
program has progressed from the search for water
to the search for carbon. A search for
habitability if you will. And we’re moving
slowly and carefully to the ultimate
goal, which would be the search for life
at Mars or elsewhere in the solar system. I’ll tell you something
else that fascinates me, Earth-like planets
around other stars. How many years ago was
it when if you said, I think there are Earth-like
planets around other stars, you had no proof. You had nothing. Just a thought. Probably based on probability
you could argue it made sense but you had very little data. We now have hundreds of examples
of planets around other stars. Many of which are
in the right zone from a temperature perspective. Many of which have we
believe a rocky core. As technology
advances we will be able to redefine what an
Earth-like planet means so that it actually
over time it becomes more and more, Earth-like. Now these aren’t just
some professors dream. These are things that
we can actually do. These are things that are called
for to some regard or another in decadal surveys by
the science community. These are things that are– lower on my list I have some
human exploration examples involving commercial industry,
involving expanding out beyond low Earth orbit. These are things that have
been called for in study, after study, after study of
our human exploration program. There are all kinds
of plans and roadmaps on how we might go about
doing these things. So you might ask,
what’s holding us back? Maybe we’re not
making investments in the technology needed
to enable our future. That’s my hypothesis,
if you will. I actually believe
it to be true. I can show you that with
a number of examples. But for the past
decade or more NASA has not made the advancements in
technologies required to enable those future missions. Yes, NASA has accomplished great
things over this past decade. Over the decade before that. NASA continues to do
so in Earth science. In planetary science,
heliophysics, actually across all the sciences. NASA continues to do great
things in human exploration. I mean look at the
International Space Station. If there ever was an
engineering marvel, the International
Space Station is it. If there ever was a model
of what we as a world can do together, the
International Space Station is it. So we have done great things. And we continue to
do great things. But we won’t be able to
do the things on this list or in my opinion on
your individual lists without these investments
in technology. So let me give you an example. One that I know something
about from this list. Let me talk for a minute
about what has always excited me, which is certainly
a grand challenge, which is the idea of one
day sending humans to the surface of
another planet. In fact, to the surface of Mars. This is something that I’ve
studied in fact coming out of Penn State as an
undergraduate I actually was hired by NASA. And the reason I
took the job at NASA was because they asked me to
work on sending humans to Mars. I had three or four
other job offers. I went to NASA because they
said, if you come to us we’re going to have you
work on humans to Mars. I mean, come on. Where else are you going to go,
right, with an offer like that. It didn’t matter that the
pay was significantly less by the way, I still went for it. So this is something
that I’ve studied. And I’ll tell you
something else, this is something that for
on a much smaller scale of our robotic missions, this
is something that I’ve done. I’ve been apart
of several teams. These are national
teams that involve people in California
and Colorado and some folks here in Boston. I was in Virginia at the time. I’ve been involved in teams that
have landed robotic spacecraft. Can you guys see that OK? OK. That have landed
robotic spacecraft on the surface of Mars. And I’ll tell you there’s no
greater feeling than if you’re an engineer, if you’ve been
working on a project like this for four or five
years, to actually see that project come true. I worked– this is
the Mars Pathfinder. Mars Pathfinder was the first
mission to the Mars’ surface since the Viking
missions of the 70s. Now funny as it
may sound to you, I actually remember
the Viking missions. I was older then. There was a lot of work at the
Goddard Space Flight Center, which is right outside
where I grew up. So some of my neighbors
worked on the Viking missions. And I think there’s
some poetic justice that the first mission I ever
worked on was Mars Pathfinder. The first mission to
land on Mars in 20 years since those Viking
missions that kind of got me excited about
NASA in the 70s. My job, by the way, was
to land these spacecraft. My job was to help get them to a
safe spot and land them safely. In fact, when this image
came up from Mars Pathfinder on July 4th, 1997,
before the Rover was deployed before any science
could be done, I was through. My job was complete. I walked out of the
mission control room, you know, like this. High-fiving
everybody that I saw. As the scientists poured in
to actually start their work. I worked on a couple– [CLAPPING] Thank you. Oh, yeah. It was a big team, by the way. And that was maybe the best
part of the job was being on that team, I should say. I went from working on
Mars Pathfinder to working on a few other missions. Some of them have succeeded. Some of them have
actually failed. And one thing that I do want to
say is that part of the journey is the learning, right? And I learned much more on
those Mars missions that failed. The ones that we don’t
talk about anymore. The ones that are
within the press. Got all those bad words
associated with them. I learned much more
on those missions that failed than I did on
the ones that succeeded. So I want to come back
to that in this talk when I get to risk taking. But that’s something
to think about. Now I know how hard it is
to land Mars Pathfinder. Remember the Mars Pathfinder
rover was about this big. About the size of a
baby, if you will. And I know how hard it is
to land the Mars exploration rovers which are about the
size of those small cars that your kids might drive
around in the driveway. You think about that. And I’ll tell you that
right now, NASA is working on the Mars Science Laboratory. It’s going to launch
later this year. It’s going to land in 2012. It’s a fantastic mission. I’m not part of the
team that’s involved in landing that mission, I
only wish I was a part of it because it’s so cool. They’re going to land a rover
the size of a small car, weighing an amazing
one metric ton. This is a fantastic mission it’s
going to do some great science. But when I look
at MSL and I think about how hard it is
for this team of people around the country
to figure out how to land one metric ton
on the surface of Mars, and I go back to the studies
of human Mars exploration that I worked on
right out of school and that had been done since,
it’s like crossing an ocean. I mean it’s a whole
different game. Here in the bottom
part of the slide I have a graphic, an artist’s
depiction of what human Mars mission might look like. We would send our astronauts
down to the surface not in a car-sized lander,
but in a two-story house. And we would land
that two story house right next to another
two-story house that’s been landed autonomously. It has been powered up. Has produced all the
consumables, and fuel, and propellants that the
astronaut explorers need. It’s a fully fueled up
base camp, if you will. Complete by the way with
a car in the garage. And all the way to the
right of this image I’ve superimposed the largest human
spacecraft lander ever built. Going back to the
Lunar Excursion Module. You recognize it. It doesn’t belong on Mars. It would never land on Mars. This is a Photoshop trick I’ve
just put it there for scale. But I want you to think
about that scale difference. And more importantly,
I want you to think about the one metric ton
number versus on the right hand side of that screen, 40 to
100 metric tons of stuff that we have to land. Now the way we land now
we land with heat shields, and arrow shells,
and parachutes. Sometimes we use airbags. We use a little bit of
propulsion subsonically. We use some
navigation techniques. Almost all of those
things go out the window. Because of this
scale difference. They don’t scale very
easily with mass. They might scale but
they’d have to be so big and the time required to
let’s say, deploy a parachute, would be so large
that we’d probably hit the ground before the
parachute was fully deployed. Just to give you one example. So the question is how do
we land something this big? Another way of looking at this– another way of looking
at this same problem is in terms of the
mass required to leave Earth for this mission. If we have four human
explorers and we want to send them on round trip
mission to the Mars’ surface. We want to send them to Mars and
we want to return them safely. It’s not a one-way trip. And we use current
technology, and I’m going to define current
technology as technology that’s been proven in space today. It’s already been proven. Stuff we have in
hand, it’s the things that NASA would
consider low risk. So it’s predominantly
chemical propulsion both for leaving the
earth and for arriving at Mars and for leaving Mars
and coming back to the earth. If we were to do that
one round trip mission, the amount of mass
required for that mission is shown on the y-axis here. And I’ve broken that– I’ve chunked that
mass if you will, a couple of different ways. So you can kind of get a feel
for how large this number is. It’s 12 International
Space Stations. Think about that for a minute. It’s taken us the
better part of a decade to launch and assemble one
International Space Station. What I’m here talking
to you about now is 12 International
Space Stations. And by the way this is
the mass just to be clear, this is the mass
in low Earth orbit. It’s not the mass on the ground. So we have to launch 12
International Space Stations of mass, most of which
is propellant by the way, into low Earth orbit. We have to assemble it,
put it all together, keep it, deal with boil off
during the time required to assemble this ship. In terms of launches, remember
the most powerful rocket ever constructed? 37 of them. 37 Saturn V’s. Saturn V doesn’t exist
anymore, but if we had it 37 Saturn V’s for
this conventional, in hand technology approach
to sending humans to Mars. So what do we need to do to
make this mission feasible? Since I’m the chief
technologist you’ve probably already guessed the answer. We need to invest in technology. And here’s the same mission. This is the impact in terms
of mass on that mission if we make various
technology investments. The first one that
I’ve shown here is improving cryogenic
boil off, right? Because most of this
mass is propellant. We don’t want that
propellant mass boiling off. If we make advances
there we make a big dent in the amount of mass
required in low Earth orbit. We go from 12 International
Space Stations down to six. But guess what? There is no single
technology advance that can get us in the realm
of feasibility for human Mars mission. And so what we really
need is a number of technology investments. We need a series of
technology advances across multiple disciplines
to make a human Mars mission feasible. And by the way, when I say
feasible, it’s still hard. Some people would say
it’s still DARPA hard, I would say it’s
still NASA hard. It’s a couple of
International Space Stations. Now the reason that I’m
excited about this chart, and the reason that I’m
excited about saying, hey, it’s only two
International Space Stations, I know that’s more
than we’ve done before. But it’s at least within
spitting distance of something that we have accomplished. One International Space Station. At least at this point I
can make a cogent argument to folks in Congress,
to policymakers. At least at this
point policymakers can make a cogent argument
to the American public, that remember pays for our
space exploration program, that this is something that
we might be able to do. I didn’t say that we can do. Something that we
might be able to do. As long as it’s up at the 12
International Space Stations, I might as well not
broach the argument in my personal opinion. And this is the
power of technology. You guys have seen it time and
time again in your own lives. Think about your first computer. How big and bulky it was. It came in a
suitcase, if you can remember that day that you had
to lug it around in a suitcase. And now people
are walking around essentially with a
computer in their pocket that they also talk
to their friends on and do music, and movies,
and all kinds of things, right? That’s the power of technology. And that same
power of technology can help us in
human exploration. It can help us in
the science missions that the decadal
surveys have called out. It can help us across the board
in all nine of those areas that I had on that
list previously. But it will only help us if
we make the investments today to enable our future missions. And that’s really what the
space technology program is all about. So as NASA’s chief
technologist, I have the responsibility
for all technology matters across the agency. I don’t control the budget
for all the technology across the agency. It’s split up and
there are people called mission
directorate associate administrators that control
different portions of NASA’s budget. But I report to the
NASA administrator and I have kind of a policy
view of all the technology investments NASA is making. Whether they’re for
the science missions, whether they’re for
Aeronautics, whether they’re for human exploration. And one of the things
that we’ve done is we’ve created a new
program, a new set of programs, that I want to describe
for you here today called Space Technology. This Space Technology programs
are a part of the 2011 budget process and they’re also in the
president’s request for 2012. The reason that this
line has shown up now is because this
administration is very committed to
making investments in research and development. Making investments in
technology and innovation. Because this
administration believes that that is the key
to our economic future. That’s the key to
high tech jobs, that’s the key to
global competitiveness. There are all kinds of not
just science and exploration benefits but there are national
security and other benefits as well for these
kinds of investments. Now it you go all the way
back to the Space Act, when NASA was officially
put into being, it says very clearly
that NASA was put into being for three reasons. To focus on three, what I
would call a longstanding core competencies. One, research and technology. Two, flight systems, flight
hardware development. Three, mission operations. And when I think of
NASA it’s actually the integration of those three
longstanding core competencies that makes NASA such a
unique and special place in the federal government. They are three legs of
a stool if you will. And all three of those
legs are critical. You take any one
of those legs away and NASA’s not NASA, right? I can’t imagine NASA
without flight systems, without launches. I can’t imagine NASA
without operations in space. It’s not I don’t
want NASA to be NSF, for example, that’s
focused exclusively on research and technology. But I also can’t imagine
NASA without research and technology. And what this line, Space
Technology line is all about is about rebalancing
the agency back towards its original charter. Towards a balance between
research technology, flight hardware, and
mission operations. Now when I say
balance I don’t mean that we’re going to spend an
equal amount of budgetarily. We’re obviously going to
spend far less on research and technology than we are on
flight hardware and mission operations because those
things are expensive. And that’s, in my
honest opinion, that’s the way it should be. But we have to spend within
NASA a critical mass. We have to spend a
critical amount on research and technology that allows
NASA to have a critical mass to advance our future. Otherwise, the
agency is spinning. It’s become very incremental. And those missions that I’m
talking about in our future would remain forever
in our future. So the space technology program
is about balancing NASA. It’s about enabling our future
in space by investing in those high payoff disruptive
technologies that frankly industry cannot tackle today. This has always been the
role of the government, to attack the basic
research, to focus on foundational
research that would then spin out into future industry
capability or future missions. For NASA that means technology
that enables our future science and exploration missions. It also means a great ability
to partner and leverage the space investments being made
by other government agencies. And there are many other
government agencies making investments in space. And it also means enabling
the commercial space sector to do more and more
over time in space. Another great reason
to invest in technology is because it keeps you
at the cutting edge. Why are you here at MIT? You came to MIT I would imagine
to get a great education. But you also came
to MIT because you know there are professors
here that are at the cutting edge in their fields. By investing in
research and technology NASA will remain at
the cutting edge. And lastly, as I mentioned just
like in the Apollo program, these kinds of investments,
these kinds of long term goals are a great way to stimulate
economic competitiveness and to build our
nation’s economy, our global competitiveness. Through the creation
of new products, new services, new businesses,
new industries, high tech jobs. Now let me tell you a little
bit more about Space Technology. Space Technology actually
consists of 10 programs. It’s a series of programs. And if you know anything about
technology readiness levels they span all the way from TRL
of 1, which is on this slide all the way on the left,
to TRL of say 7, which is all the way on the right. In words what that means
is they go all the way from concept to flight. So if you have an idea, if
you have a technology that you think is important to the future
of the aerospace community, whether it’s a concept, whether
it’s something that needs to be tested in a lab or
in a ground based facility, whether it’s something
that’s mature enough to be demonstrated in the
relevant environment of space, there is a Space Technology
program for that idea. These 10 programs,
my organization is managing these 10
programs in three divisions. And those divisions are shown
on the bottom of this slide. The low TRL stuff or the
concept kind of stuff is in early stage innovation. The laboratory and
ground based testing work, the stuff that you need
to prove the experiments that we do to prove that the
fundamental physics are valid. I have a great idea. It looks great on paper. But there’s always this
nagging little bit of physics that might be holding you back. The way you’re
going to go to prove that fundamental
physics is valid is in game changing technology. And if you show that that
fundamental physics is valid in cross-cutting
capability demonstrations, we will take your technology
and demonstrate it in the relevant
environment of space. Maybe it’ll be a
secondary payload. Maybe it’ll be a hosted payload. It may even have a
dedicated mission. Depends a little bit on
what we’re talking about. So at the top of this slide,
the way I think about it is I think about it as a funnel. A funnel of ideas that are
open to the broad community. Industry, academia, government. This is all being done
in a competitive manner. So you basically
write a proposal that documents your idea. Your idea will be evaluated
through a technical peer review process, just like we use in
the science mission directorate, by the way. And should your idea be
selected you would get funding to advance that technology
through one of these programs. On the early stage side of
the house, an early stage innovation, there’ll
be lots of ideas. These tend to be kind of
low dollar value awards. You know universities
will certainly have a large role in
early stage innovation. And as you go to the right,
not all of those great ideas will pan out. I am a dreamer but
I’m also a realist. Not every great idea I had
was really a great idea. Some of them
through ground based testing, through
laboratory testing will show that they’re not
quite ready for prime time and they won’t go forward. Others will move forward and
get all the way to flight. We’ll also work with the
NASA mission directorate with other government agencies
and with the commercial sector all through this process
so that when we demonstrate that your technology
is flight ready, there’ll be a customer
there waiting to infuse it on a future NASA mission. Or a future commercial mission. Or a future other
government agency mission. So maybe the best way I have
of describing this program is through this
little video where a few people that have been
developing this program will talk to you about
these different stages. So watch that for a minute. [VIDEO PLAYBACK] – When I think of NASA I
think of an agency focused on technology at
the cutting edge. Instead of telling
people the specific idea that they need to work
on, what we’re going to do is set grand challenges
for our technological pace. What we’re going to be looking
for are visions of the future. [MUSIC PLAYING] – The first stage is called
early stage innovation. It’s a new idea how do we
assess how practical it is? How feasible it is? How NASA can use it? Who can use it? We have a funnel
and many concepts come in from many directions. They have to get a chance. There has to be some vetting. A few will actually turn out
to be worthy of further study. Further study usually involves
more effort and more expense so we can’t do it
for all of them. But this is the
initial gate where we try to give those ideas a
chance and we hope one of them is going to change the world. [MUSIC PLAYING] – The next stage is game
changing technologies. A game changing
technology has the ability to change a customer’s
expectation in a profound way. Many ideas die because it’s
very expensive to transition from small scale laboratory
to a large scale mission. Typically in NASA we
provided a solution. In the game changing
program we’re going to actually
provide a capability that we need leaving it open
to innovation and high risk technologies to be proposed
rather than the classic way that NASA has done it. And once that high
risk technology has been proven out then
it’s more readily acceptable to a mission. [MUSIC PLAYING] – Once the technology crosses
the game changing hurdle, it would be brought into
cross cutting capabilities demonstration to be demonstrated
in relevant environment. We also want to
think outside the box where we’re doing things in a
more streamlined and efficient manner. Like testing it on an aircraft
or a suborbital platform like a sounding rocket. Or even on the ground here,
a test chamber or a lab. And NASA needs to be
able to collaborate by getting the expertise
that exist at various NASA centers, industry, academia,
other government agencies. We could actually try to broaden
from a low maturity level, to a mid maturity level,
to a high maturity level and look at multiple partners
and customers that would be interested in this technology. [MUSIC PLAYING] – We’re not developing
technology just to play in our sandbox. We’re developing technological
solutions to real problems. For the United States
to position itself as a leader in the
future, we have to lead through technology. These are grand
challenges for the agency. These are grand challenges
that will engage the nation. This is what NASA was built
for and these are the things that we can do through
technology investment. [MUSIC PLAYING] [END PLAYBACK] BRAUN: So the Space
Technology program exists to fund your ideas. Not all of your
ideas will be funded, I gotta be clear about that. But it exists to fund
innovators around the country. I’ll tell you I’ve traveled
all around the country over this past year
and I’ll tell you one thing is a
certainty, this nation is not short on innovation. This nation is not
short on innovators. We’re short on ways to
fund our innovators. And space technology was
created as one way particularly for the aerospace
community to do that. Now what are the
benefits of this funding? The benefits to
NASA are very clear. I’ve mentioned them to
some extent already. The benefits are for our
future human exploration missions and our future
science missions. In human exploration, here are
a couple of artists concepts. Whether we’re talking
about humans going out to an asteroid. Whether we’re talking about in
the lower right hand corner, humans inserting into orbit or
landing on the surface of Mars. Whether we’re talking
about propellant depots in the lower
left hand corner or deep space
exploration spacecraft in the upper right hand corner. These vehicles, these
systems, will look nothing like the vehicles and systems
that we have already created. They will look nothing like
the vehicles and systems that were created with
1960s and 1970s technology. They will look nothing like the
Apollo vehicles and systems, in my opinion. If they look that
way, then I already know what they will cost. And if they cost that
much, they will not exist. So that’s why I can say what
I’m saying with some certainty. I can’t tell you when
these vehicles will exist. When these systems will exist. But I can tell you
when they exist they will use new technologies
and they will look different than we might think they
look today based on existing or older technologies. That’s true in
human exploration. And by the way, I
do want to focus on the International Space
Station for just a minute. The International Space
Station as I said earlier, is an amazing
engineering achievement. I can’t think of a greater
engineering achievement. You guys here at
MIT I think know a lot about the
International Space Station. You’re very proud of MIT’s
role in the development of this system. And a lot of faculty here have
had various roles in that. It’s a tremendous laboratory. It’s been recently designated
a national laboratory. And it’s a place where
NASA is now planning to do research and technology. It’s a unique environment. A controlled
environment from where we can do microgravity
research and technology. We can learn about long term
human degradation in space. We can also demonstrate
technologies that have to last for
a long time as well. I know that you’re very familiar
with the picture in the lower right. So I won’t talk too
much about that. But in the upper right you see
the water reclamation facility that is currently flying on the
International Space Station. This is a station,
a facility where they can take wastewater and
convert it into drinking water. As you can imagine water in
space is a precious resource. So that’s a very
important thing to be able to do on the
International Space Station and it’s certainly a
very important thing to do for our long term
human exploration plans. But that’s a
technology that also could have immediate
benefits here on the earth. Think about all the
places in the world where water is a
precious resource. Where there’s not enough
water for people to survive. And think about spinning
off that technology into some company it, won’t
look exactly like that. It won’t look anything
like that actually. But think about
taking that technology and using it here on the
earth, for non space purposes. In the lower left
here, I have a picture of my best friend, Robonaut. Robonaut is currently flying
on the International Space Station. It was developed
through a partnership between NASA and GM. Some of you may know a
great deal about Robonaut. Robonaut’s flying
in space and is going to be demonstrating over
time more and more complicated tasks. Human robotic
interaction type tasks. He’s going to be offloading the
astronauts so the astronauts have more time to do science. To do what humans do best. And at GM plants, some GM
plants around the country, you’re going to see robotic
assistants that look something like Robonaut maybe a
little bit different starting to work
in our factories. Working alongside
factory workers. You may or may not know
this unless you studied the automobile industry, but the
automobile industry pretty much partitions their factories
into spaces where humans work and spaces where
robotics take place. Because robotic and
humans in close proximity, there’s a safety issue there
in some of the factories. Robonaut was
designed specifically to work with humans. And that’s GM’s interest. So this is a technology
that we developed for the space exploration
program that is also going to pay dividends for one
particular company at least, right here in this country. For our science missions, there
are all kinds of benefits. Pick up any decadal
survey and think about the missions
that are called for by that group of scientists. These missions are
not easily done. Think about how hard it has been
for us to do the Mars Science Laboratory. Think about how hard it will be
for NASA to complete the James Webb Space Telescope. Beyond that, the
scientists want to do more and I don’t blame them. I want to do more too. I still have questions. Every time we fly a mission
I have more questions. So what this is three depictions
of some future telescope. Say you wanted to construct
a really large aperture telescope or a large aperture
antenna even in space. There are many ways
you might do that. You might fold the
thing up so that it fits in the launch vehicle. Take it up into space
and deploy it. , You might fly a constellation
of smaller systems smaller apertures that go in formation
flight and form a larger aperture. Or you might have
a segmented set of mirrors that
deploy to a precision optic tolerance in space. There are many ways
that this large system could be constructed. How do we know which
way is the best? The only way we’ll
know is if we invest in each of these pathways
at least for a little while. Do some testing
and figure it out. That’s what research and
technology is all about. It’s about figuring
out the future path for a future mission. And the technologies
that we’re going to invest in through
Space Technology are going to pay
very large dividends for our future science missions. Now these missions that
we’re talking about doing, they have tremendous
value for our– oh that wasn’t
supposed to happen. They have tremendous
value for our– not so good, –for
our future aeronautics science and
exploration missions, but they also have down
to earth applications. I’ma let that go. Think about the Gulf oil spill. You may or may not know
that that spill was tracked. The boats were sent. The rescue was coordinated by
spacecraft flying overhead. Think about the rescue
of the Chilean miners. That rescue was
actually conducted by the Chilean government
but they got a lot of advice from NASA. From the biomedical
expertise at NASA on how to keep those
miners safe when they were trapped beneath the surface. And how to extract them
with a structure that looks surprisingly like a
launch vehicle or a capsule. Think about all the technologies
that come from space. Think about your use
of the Weather Channel. Your G.P.S. On your phone. The blood pressure
monitoring devices that the biomedical
industry uses. LASIK eye surgery. The protective armor that keeps
our police , firefighters, and military personnel safe. Many of these things have
come from space technology. They’ve come from our
investments in space and they’ve been spun
off into products, if I could get this thing
to work, into products right here on the earth. These down-to-earth
applications help us, and they also create jobs. They also create companies. They also create products. And they also
stimulate our economy. NASA has been tracking these
things for a number of years. We call them
spin-offs And you can go to my website, the Office of
the Chief technologist website, and you can search to
your heart’s desire about all these spin-offs
applications that have come from investments in space. You can find out about the
nutritional supplements in baby formula, or the impact
we’ve had on golf clubs or other athletic wear. About how space technology
affects eye exams and other biomedical issues. You probably don’t even
know the large number of everyday applications that
come from the space program. That come from investing
in space technology. This is something that NASA
hasn’t done a great job of, in my opinion, of communicating. And this is something that
we’re going to do a better job on in the future. So when I think back on
that original question that I posed for
you, that hypothesis. That what is our
generation’s space race? What I keep coming back
to is it’s the same. It’s the same as it always was. It’s about technological
leadership. I would posit that that’s what
the Apollo program was actually all about. It wasn’t maybe
phrased that way, but that’s what
it was all about. And I would posit that that’s
what it’s all about still today. , We may not be
in a race we may be more of a collaboration and actually
I think that’s a good thing. But there’s no doubt
that this nation’s future is dependent highly, highly
dependent on the investments we make and the leadership position
that we take in technology. And so it’s really
for those reasons that I took a leave of
absence from Georgia Tech. Went to NASA and I’m
currently serving as the chief technologist. These are the kinds
of things that I think about every day as I’m
planning the Space Technology program. And these are the kinds
of technology applications that I think you will see
if you choose to participate in the space program. Or just over the
advances that we will make in the next decade,
or the next two decades. And with that I’ll
just pause right here. This is the website that
I mentioned earlier, if you want to learn more
about this stuff more about the program that
I’m talking about. More about the applications. More about NASA’s
future missions. This is a great place to start. And I’d like to see if
there are any questions. Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE] HOFFMAN: So, questions? AUDIENCE: Dr. Braun, great talk. Thank you very much. HOFFMAN: Could you
stand up and talk loud so we can try to
repeat the questions. AUDIENCE: Yes. Thank you very much. I was wondering, you didn’t
have any talk about going back to the moon potentially with
the space base on the moon permanent in advance
of going to Mars. Seems like we’re
just going to Mars. Would that make sense from
a commercial point of view, from space tourism to a couple
other industries, and mining, go to the moon first. Test some science. Develop some
science, technology, and then go to Mars. BRAUN: Yeah, so I didn’t mean to
imply that we’re going straight to Mars. I was using Mars as an
example just to be clear. I was using Mars as an
example because it’s something I know something about. Something that I’ve
worked on, it’s something that I personally
am very interested in. What NASA is really
doing is we’re building, you know through
technology investments, we’re building the
capability required to be deep space explorers. And whether we go
to the moon first, whether we go to
an asteroid first, whether we go to orbit
Mars and then go down to the surface,
almost regardless of the order or the
next destination, we need these capabilities. The president actually
said in, almost a year ago, in April of last year at
the Kennedy Space Center. The president laid out
a set of destinations. And the destination that
he challenged NASA with was to take humans to a
near-Earth asteroid by 2025. To have humans in
orbit telerobotics of robotic explorers
on the surface of Mars. To have humans in orbit
about Mars by 2030. And have humans on
the surface of Mars at some point in his lifetime. He didn’t actually
give a date for that. I was encouraged because
we’re about the same age. And I figured maybe that means
in my lifetime but you know, it’s hard to know. But you’re right there
are a number of people that have different plans. Some people believe that
going back to the moon is the next step for
commercial reasons or for exploration reasons. That we haven’t finished
exploring the moon. Others believe that we’ve
been to the moon and it’s time to go someplace else. To an asteroid, for instance. AUDIENCE: So is the strategy
then not quite yet well defined for what the next step
will be with regard to the 2030 objective? BRAUN: The 2030 objective. So for human exploration, I mean
I’ll take it for you in chunks if you will. In this next chunk
of time, and I’m not going to give you a number, OK? But in this next chunk of
time, for human exploration we’re going to be focused
on a couple of things. We’re really focused
on the full utilization of the International
Space Station. That’s number one. We spent a decade
constructing this thing. It is an amazing
engineering laboratory and we spent a lot of our
taxpayer money constructing it. It’s time that we utilize
the International Space Station for science,
and for technology. At the same time that we’re
utilizing the International Space Station, we are building
through the commercial cargo and commercial crew programs. We’re building the capability
in this country to have cargo and then one day astronauts
lifted up and down to the station to low Earth
orbit by commercial industry. And the third piece
that we’re working on in this first chunk of time. This is all simultaneous. Is we’re building the
deep space exploration elements that we know we need. We know we need a
crew vehicle that’s capable of keeping humans
safe for a long period of time in space. To go to deep space. And we know we
need a large launch vehicle to send that
crew vehicle and whatever other cargo and things are
required in to deep space. And so we are in parallel
developing all three of those systems. Now with those
systems in hand, we’ll be able to make in my opinion
a very informed decision. Rather than just
picking a destination. We’ll be able to make an
informed decision about what is the right next step. Is it the moon? Or is it an asteroid? Or is it direct to Mars? And I’m not, I don’t want to
get into an argument with you about that because different
people have different views. AUDIENCE: No, I
just wanted to hear your explanation of the strategy
to the point of decision making. BRAUN: OK. Thank you. In the back there. AUDIENCE: Thank you Dr.
I’m enjoying your talk. In this Monday’s print edition
of the Wall Street Journal there’s a small
article detailing about how on June 2
of this year there’s going to be a release
of a biography of a man by the name of
Clark Rockefeller. That name is
essentially an alias of a German illegal alien. Amongst other
things, well I think it may go into the murder in
1985 of a computer store clerk and his wife [INAUDIBLE]. Do you have any knowledge
at all if NASA has either helped or hindered in
writing this autobiography if in fact it includes any
information about this case? BRAUN: No, I have no
knowledge of that. I’m sorry. If I did I would tell you. OK. Yes, sir. AUDIENCE: Dr. Braun in the
beginning of your presentation, I read one point
interstellar exploration. Interstellar exploration. BRAUN: Interstellar exploration. AUDIENCE: It sounds like
science fiction because of these giant distances
which only would last dozens of millions of years. What do you understand in
this part [? completely? ?] BRAUN: Yeah. So just to be clear I’m
in interstellar robotic exploration. But it is something
I believe in. And yes it sounds a little
bit like science fiction, I’ll give you that. There are lots of things that
we have today that sounded like science fiction
not very long ago. When I was a kid I
watched Star Trek and they had this thing
called a communicator. And the very first
phone I had was one of those Motorola flip phones. You remember those? Flip them open just
like a communicator. I never thought when
I was a kid that I would have such a device. And now we all have them. And there are many, that’s
just one example because I have this in my pocket here. You’re right. Interstellar robotic
spacecraft will either take a very long
time to get there. It could be even a generational
kind of spacecraft. A spacecraft that
transforms itself over time. There is a lot of research
going in into regeneration of materials. Reuse and regeneration
of materials in flight. That’s a possibility. There’s also a lot
going on in propulsion. Some of that propulsion
is on the border of what I would call science
fiction and science fact. But it would take
something like that to make this mission– to make
that kind of mission a reality. It’s also true that not
all stars are equal. There are some closer
and some farther so it depends a little
bit on the target that we’re talking
about as well. Thank you. Any other questions? Other questions? HOFFMAN: Did you say something
with [INAUDIBLE] propulsion about what NASA
may or may not be doing with nuclear propulsion? Nuclear thermal, whatever. BRAUN: Yeah. So propulsion. As I stated earlier
you know to date and for the past
large number of years, NASA’s been accounting very
much on chemical propulsion. Standard, if it’s
locked hydrogen you’re talking about
an ISP in the 400s. There are other
technologies out there. There’s low thrust, that we
could use to position cargo, including propellant stages
around the solar system for humans use or for
our robotic missions. Whether it’s nuclear
electric or solar electric. And there’s nuclear thermal. Nuclear thermal propulsion
has been around for a while. It’s nothing new. It was actually
developed and ground demonstrate in the 70s
right here in this country. And it is something
that and time again in studies of human
Mars exploration people have shown to be
very beneficial. It’s something that takes us
from let’s say 12 International Space Stations in my
example down to something like six or five very quickly. Just with that one technology. It’s a big bite. It is something that
NASA is interested in. It is something that NASA is
pursuing through the technology development programs. We’re going to pursue it
first in a non-nuclear way. There are a number of
technologies involved in nuclear propulsion
that can be demonstrated with simulates, if you
will, or simulators of the nuclear material. And of course for NASA to
fly anything nuclear in space there’s a whole very large
and long series of approvals that would have to be granted. So this isn’t anything that’s
going to happen anytime soon. I should point out though
just for full disclosure, NASA does fly a very small
amount of nuclear material on its robotic spacecraft. We do that today. We’ve done that in a number
of missions in the past. And will continue to
do so because there are cases as you get farther
and farther from the sun, it’s really not just
an efficient way, in some cases it’s the only
way, to do these deep space exploration programs. So it is something that
we’re interested in and you’ll see it call
it out very clearly in some of the work that
goes on as early as next year through these
technology programs. Yeah. AUDIENCE: The spectrum
from new idea development, to sort of game changing,
cross-cutting technologies, to sort of in the
space environment tech demonstrations, how does
Space Station fit into that? Are all Space
Station experiments sort of considered at
the right end of that or is it all the
way across the mix? BRAUN: No. So the Space Station– so the question was
in the spectrum. I could even go there
if I’m really fast. Let’s see, probably
not with this. My computers never
acted this way before, it’s
supposed to be a Mac. So in this spectrum– went too far. Sorry. In the spectrum of missions
that I was talking about. Here we go. OK. Here it is. So in this spectrum of programs,
and there’s 10 programs I’m just showing
you three divisions to kind of keep it organized. Going from early
stage innovation to game changing technology
to cross-cutting capabilities, or in other words going
from concept to ground based and laboratory
testing to flight, the question was where does
the International Space Station fit in? And it’s not true that
the International Space Station is only over here. Because what I’m
talking about when I say from concept
to ground based testing or laboratory
testing to flight is I’m talking about
the technology itself. The International Space
Station is a laboratory. So the International
Space Station could be here depending
on the technology that you’re demonstrating. I doubt that you’re going to
use the International Space Station much in paper studies. In systems analysis
and paper studies. But you could consider
the International Space Station a laboratory, I do. Much like you have a laboratory
where you do research here on campus. So it’s just a laboratory. It’s a unique environment. It’s a unique laboratory
that we can utilize for technology development. The human research
program, which is where a lot of the
fundamental science for long term human
degradation in space is known. They run experiments at the
International Space Station that vary in TRL. From probably TRL of maybe three
all the way up to TRL of six, or so. And our technology developments
at the International Space Station will also
probably span that range. There’ll be some things that
are more systems that we’re just trying to demonstrate
out and there’ll be some things that we take to
the International Space Station where we’re not actually
sure it’s going to work. And we’ll take it
up there because of the unique environment. Does that answer your question? AUDIENCE: Yeah. BRAUN: OK. Yes, sir. AUDIENCE: I was wondering
how much of your offices and allocations go to things
like propulsion technology, versus materials engineering,
versus medical science or sensor packages. BRAUN: Yeah, that’s
a great question. So just to make sure
everybody heard, the question was
how much of our I guess budget goes to
certain disciplines like propulsion or sensors
or structures or avionics or what have you. The answer is is
that it depends. It depends on you. It depends on the
proposals that we receive. Because we’re not
organized by discipline. We’re organized by
technology readiness level. And we put out an open call
that is open across disciplines. And if the structures
community is the only community
that responds then we’ll be very structures heavy. But if the structures and
propulsion community, both respond equally and they both
have meritorious proposals, then we’ll be
roughly 50-50 split. So it just depends
on the response. AUDIENCE: Where would you say
the existing break downs lie? BRAUN: Yeah, so I
would actually argue that one of the problems over
the past decade with NASA is that very little of what I’m
talking about has been done. It’s not a matter of the
propulsion community is fat and happy and the
structures community is starved. It’s that neither
community had a place to take an innovative idea. And what we’re trying
to provide here is a home for all
of those innovators. Now I should mention that
another piece of background, my office created a set of
space technology roadmaps. These are roadmaps that
are discipline based. This is why I’m mentioning it
in response to your question. There’s a propulsion–
there’s actually a launch propulsion and an
in-space propulsion roadmap. There’s a structures
and materials roadmap. And so on, and so on. And these roadmaps are now
under control of the National Academy of Engineering. And they’re running a
decadal survey like process where they’re getting
the community involved in those roadmaps. NASA produced a rough
draft basically and gave it to the National Academy. And the National Academy
is involving people from all over the country
in reviewing, and changing, and editing. Rewriting, basically,
these roadmaps. They’ll be returned
to NASA and we will use them much like the
science mission directorate uses the decadal surveys. We’ll use them as guidance
for how we make our technology investments. I’m mentioning that
because these roadmaps are being compiled in an open way. If you choose to, you can
participate in a website where you can send comments. You can go to some of the
open meetings and speak up. You could talk about
some of your ideas with the National
Academy and they would be included in
the roadmap process. Yes, sir. AUDIENCE: So some of us and the
students are graduating soon. So with regards to
human spaceflight we want to have the best
impact on human spaceflight. Who should we go work for? BRAUN: That’s up to you. Who should you go work
for in human spaceflight? Well of course I’m going to
tell you to go work for NASA. [LAUGHTER] I’ll tell you that– I’ll tell you that
for real, actually. I need to say that
NASA has been extremely important in my own career. I was very fortunate. I went to NASA right out
of undergraduate school and it was probably the
best decision I made. I could have gone
to lots of places. And it set– those
first few years at NASA Langley set
the whole foundation for my future career. I didn’t stay there forever. I worked at Langley for a while,
I left, I went to Georgia Tech. Now I’m back at NASA. There’s absolutely
nothing wrong with going to one of the commercial human
spaceflight hopeful companies. But there’s also
nothing wrong with going to work at the Johnson Space
Center or the Marshall Space Flight Center. You know, one of the major human
spaceflight centers of NASA. I’d tell you there’s
strong engineering talent at all of those locations. And rather than me
just picking a winner, I would say when you
go for your interviews you should be interviewing them. And you should focus on the
job that they are offering you. And whatever job speaks
to you in your heart is what you should do. Don’t do it for the money. Don’t do it because you’re
friends said company X is good and company Y is bad. Do it for what– you know. Because you’re going to be
spending a lot of time working. And if you’re going to be
spending a lot of time working, you might as well be
doing something you love. So that’s what I would suggest. Yes, sir. AUDIENCE: Is there any– is there any ability or desire
to use the technology developed by Dr. [INAUDIBLE] in roughly
the late ’80s and the treating of an aerogel as a power source,
both for spacecraft operations as well as propulsion? BRAUN: Yeah, I don’t know
a lot about that, actually. So we are going to do a lot– I’ll tell you, we are going
to do a lot in propulsion. We’re going to do
things that are both I wouldn’t say near term
but just a few years out. And we’re going
to do things that could be 20 to 40 years out. So we’re going to spend
the game out there, not just in propulsion but I
would say in materials as well. Obviously for NASA
to go from, let’s say aluminum or aluminum lithium
tanks, very large tanks, to composite tanks
is a big step. It helps us a lot. But to go to nanotechnology or
some of the things out beyond, that is even a bigger step. And the beauty of the
Space Technology program is that we will be making
a portfolio of investments. Some of them will be more
near-term and more focused. Some of them will be much
more long term and visionary. Thank you. Yes, sir. AUDIENCE: Maybe
expand a little bit in near-terms of the
development program in terms of the [INAUDIBLE] when do you
expect a request for proposals. BRAUN: Sure. Well, yeah so the request
for proposals is already out. You can find them on my website
that I showed you earlier. One of them is
actually already closed for the students
that are in here. The first one that we released
was called the Space Technology Graduate Fellowship program. This is a new
program that will– when it gets to
steady state it will sponsor 500 graduate students
in our nation’s universities. In areas aligned with one of
the space technology roadmaps. That opened and it
closed in February. We’re going to be making awards. The first awards
will be announced I think in early June
for students that start in the fall semester. There are currently three
solicitations that are open. The NASA Institute
for Advanced Concepts is something that
existed before. It was actually terminated
and we’re bringing it back. It’s a place where– it’s
an early stage innovation program that’s looking at
20 to 40 year out concepts. That call is currently open. The game changing
development call which is one of two programs
in game changing technology is currently open. And then over here, technology
demonstration missions, which is the, by project,
the largest dollar value awards that we’ll be making. It’s where we’ll take– perhaps have a dedicated
launch and demonstrate some pretty large
technologies in space. All three of those calls
are currently open. The calls are going to be
released on a yearly cycle. And so we’re actually moving
pretty quick into 2012. So while these calls
are open and they’ll be closing in the
next month or so, there’ll be the next
set that come out across all 10 programs. AUDIENCE: What is actually
the role of the tech– BRAUN: Of the roadmaps? AUDIENCE: Yeah. Of the roadmaps, yeah. BRAUN: Yeah. So for 2011, the
current year, we’re using the draft roadmaps
that NASA developed to guide us in our selections. The National Academy process has
two dates associated with it. We’re going to have
a preliminary report from the National
Academies in September. And we’re going to have a final
report in January, September 2011. January 2012. So we’re actually going to
use the Space Technology roadmaps returned to us
from the National Academy in the 2012 set of calls as our
guiding documents, if you will. We’re going to use them to
help set investment priorities. And that timing was
set up on purpose. Yes, sir. AUDIENCE: In the booklet,
they actually mentioned that you would talk
about STEM education and, didn’t hear
much about it yet. Is your office doing
anything with STEM directly? BRAUN: Well, so the main
office that does STEM at NASA is the office of education. And that office is largely
focused on middle school. A little bit high school
as well, but mostly middle school education. My office is really ramping
up in university education. What we’re trying to do is
we’re trying to take students whether they be
undergrad or grad, we started off with
graduate students. But long term, whether they
be undergraduate or graduate students where the
students are doing research we’re trying to align
those students research with the Space
Technology roadmaps. And when those
things are aligned we plan to fund those students. Fund their stipends or fund
their research assistantships. So that’s kind of the
dividing line, if you will. Because this program
is focused really on the development
of technologies, there’s a natural link
there with universities and with university students. And then the office of education
focuses on not just the middle and high school students, but
on educating those teachers. When they can educate
a teacher that teacher has a much greater
impact than they can by just one-on-one
going with the students. HOFFMAN: Two more
questions and then we’re gonna go to the final remarks. AUDIENCE: Are you envisaging
the entire undergraduate and graduate– BRAUN: I didn’t
hear the first part. AUDIENCE: Are you envisaging
the entire undergraduate and graduate education portfolio
resigning in your office? BRAUN: No. AUDIENCE: No? BRAUN: And my envisaging
the entire undergraduate and graduate portfolio
in my office? The answer is no. There’s currently–
well in 2010 most of it was in the office of education. And there were little bits of
it in the mission directorate. So aeronautics actually
funds some graduate students. The science mission directorate
funds some graduate students. And so on. And what I’m doing
in Space Technology is I’m really ramping up
the number of students and frankly the involvement of
those students in NASA work. But I do not expect that
the office of education will get out of that
business, if that’s what you’re asking me. I think it’ll be a joint, for a
while at least, it’ll be joint and we’ll see how it goes. What my goal was not to take
over the education programs. My goal is to get more
students involved in NASA. So the way to get more
students involved in NASA is to have more program. Which is what I’m trying to do. Yes, mam. HOFFMAN: This will
be the last question. AUDIENCE: How do you
envision NASA’s role in facilitating partnerships
with international agencies to help develop some of these
game-changing technologies that you outline? BRAUN: Wow. that’s
a great question. I didn’t even talk about that. That is also my job. [LAUGHS] OK. So NASA’s doing more and
more with internationals. As I mentioned, it’s not
a space race anymore, I just use that phrase. It’s really much more
of a collaboration. And when it comes
to partnerships, whether they be partnerships
with the commercial sector or partnerships
with internationals. When we’re talking
about technology, the responsibility for those
technology partnerships is in my office. And I actually have– I didn’t bring my org chart,
it’d be kind of boring. But I have a
sub-office in my office that’s focused on
technology partnerships. Partnerships across
the government, partnerships with the
commercial sector, and international partnerships. And what those people are
doing is they’re going out and they’re trying to
develop those partnerships. Basically, we’ll go to country
X or other government agency Y and we try to get a list
of technology priorities from that organization, and
we match it up with our list. And if there’s a
commonality, doesn’t have to be that their number one
thing is our number one thing. But if something in their top
five is also in our top five, we then explore
that area further and see if we can leverage
each other’s investment and do that together. For technology there are some
difficulties in doing that. There’s of course ITAR, which
you may know something about. The ITAR policy is
currently under review and I’m expecting a revision of
that policy at some point soon. I’m not involved in the
review of that policy. But what we’re doing
right now, so for instance I’ll give you an example. We’re interested in
robotics, the Germans are interested in robotics. The Germans are making major
investments there as are we. And so we’re keeping
each other informed. And the teams are
talking to each other. There’s no funds that
are crossing the ocean, if you will. The Germans fund their
folks and we fund our folks. But we are actually,
I would say, at some level we are
actually leveraging each other’s investment. And over time, I
think you’ll see more and more of that
type of collaboration with other countries. Thank you. Thank you all. [APPLAUSE]

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