Early Wednesday morning, June 16, 2004, the President's Commission on Moon, Mars and Beyond delivered its report to the White House. The report, titled "A Journey to Inspire, Innovate and Discover" was later released to the public at a press conference, held at the George Washington University Jack Morton Auditorium in Washington D.C.
The Commission, chaired by Edward C. "Pete" Aldridge, Jr., supports the President's new vision for space and the report contains eight findings and fourteen recommendations on how to implement that vision. The Commission believes that this new space agenda will significantly help the nation protect its technological leadership, economic vitality, and physical, economic and military security. Three "imperatives for success" were also identified: sustainability, affordability, and credibility.
In keeping with the long-term sustainability of the space vision, Chairman Aldridge called the report "far-reaching" and said: "We concentrated on five major themes and the idea that this proposed vision for space constitutes a journey – not a race; that the process of getting there is just as important as reaching the goal."
The Findings and Recommendations cover the following subjects:
- Space exploration managed as national priority
- Larger role for private sector
- A "go as you can pay" approach for funding
- Transformation of NASA organization and management processes
- NASA centers operated as Federally Funded Research and Development Centers
- Special project teams to develop "enabling technologies"
- Increased incentives and prizes for private sector investment
- Scientific achievements that lead to further scientific knowledge
- Stimulation of science, math and engineering education for students and teachers
Chairman Aldridge said: "This is a great opportunity to inspire our youth and our teachers in the areas of math, science and engineering, to technologically innovate to build a space industry and a strong and skilled industrial base, and to discover new opportunities to gain knowledge of ourselves and our future. Thus the title of our report."
The President's Commission on Implementation of U.S. Space Exploration Policy (Moon, Mars and Beyond) is charged with building consensus, providing recommendations to the President regarding moon research activities, increasing young people's interest in space science, and bringing in industry and other countries as space partners.