In The Field

AAS 2009: An Australian Space Agency?

Dr. Penny Sackett began her term as Australia’s chief scientist in November 2008 — a government position akin to the presidential science adviser in the US — but still feels enough of an allegiance to the community from which she hails (astronomy) to come and give an invited talk at AAS on Tuesday. Towards the end of the talk, which was an overview of Australian science and its place in the world, she mentioned in passing that the government is considering establishing a national space agency. After the talk, I asked her about it, and she said that the government is expected to deliver a white paper on the subject early this year, which would be a first step towards any eventual parliamentary establishment. She said if it does happen, it would be an agency more so than a funding program.


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