Poll: Should ESA Science Have a Political Agenda?

French President Nicolas Sarkozy

Recently, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced his vision for the future of the European Space Agency (ESA). To prevent ESA from becoming “obsolete” and overtaken by nations with fledgling space agencies (such as China, Japan and India), Sarkozy believes ESA should move away from a “science driver” and adopt a “political driver”. He is a huge advocate of NASA’s politically-driven direction and wants to adopt a similar model for Europe.

However, NASA’s political future is looking uncertain (budget cuts and job losses), is this a reliable model for ESA to adopt? Having said that, without a political incentive in the 1960’s NASA may never have landed man on the Moon. Perhaps politics can invigorate investment and space exploration.

I want to hear your view on this tricky subject, so for Astroengine’s first foray into online polls (true democracy over here!), please cast your vote on the question below and we’ll see what everyone thinks. If you want to share your views, please feel free to leave a comment!

Before you vote with your left mouse button, here are some recent articles I’ve written you may find of some help:

[poll id=”3″]

5 thoughts on “Poll: Should ESA Science Have a Political Agenda?”

  1. Ian,

    I love the embedded poll idea! I’d love to steal it from you, except it isn’t working on your site; I’d love to know the css/html for it when you get it! For the record, I think that politicizing space is a great way to increase interest and funding, and as long as they don’t gum up the works too much and stifle innovation, I’d love to see it go forward like that.


  2. Hi Ethan!

    Glad you like it! Which bit doesn’t seem to be working? I’m actually using a WordPress plugin called wp-polls (http://lesterchan.net/wordpress/readme/wp-polls.html). I agree with you, there does need to be political incentive to push forward, but there needs to be a balance with the science – perhaps there needs to be intelligent joint funding… I really need to find time to do a bigger article!

    Thanks for your input!

    Cheers, Ian

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