NASA denied this week three advisors
who spoke out against budget cuts to the agency's science programs
were forced to resign.
Wesley Huntress, Charles Kennel and Eugene Levy were members of
the restructured NASA Advisory Council, which met last November in an
attempt to balance NASA's desire to return to the moon with the
agency's less glamorous scientific research.
The Associated Press reports Kennel resigned by choice... but
that NASA Administrator Michael Griffin asked Huntress and Levy to
clean out their desks.
Levy, a physics and astronomy professor as well as provost at
Houston's Rice University, said the men's commitment to scientific
research didn't jibe "with the kind of advice that the
administrator and the chairman of the committee were looking
NASA press secretary Dean Acosta denied the
implication the resignations were an act of retribution.
"I don't want to give the impression that these guys were
outspoken and that's why they were asked to leave because that's
not the case at all," NASA press secretary Dean Acosta said
Thursday. "The administrator is looking for ... members to advise
him based on the priority that the agency has and based on what our
As Aero-News has reported,
NASA has come under protest by many in the scientific community --
and its own employees -- for limiting growth in its science budget,
in order to cover the costs of completing the International Space
Station... as well as for sending astronauts back to the moon by
the end of the next decade.