The members of the Executive Director Search Committee are Greg Allison, Rick Zucker, Joe Redfield, Al Globus and Lynne Zielinski. David Brandt-Erichsen was elected to be Secretary. Mark Hopkins will be the Chair of the Committee.
The 7 members of the Committee were chosen last Monday by the 17 Board members who volunteered for the Committee. It had been decided earlier by the Executive Committee that no more than 7 could serve on this Committee.
Having seen Whitesides around for a few years, I’ve some ideas about a new person for Executive Director to fill his shoes. It’s a tall order.
1) Whitesides did it so nicely I think few people noticed, but he was *charismatic*. I expect a future more difficult than the past, and we’ll need someone who can stand up and be noticed just because he’s there. It’s a necessary foot in the door to managing the coming challenges.
2) The Executive Director search is also a review of where is NSS going from here? In my view, NSS like NASA, isn’t really *going* anywhere. It’s a sort of a structured society of Chiefs which too little serves the Indians who do the work. Hence, not much concern about what the work needs to be.
In my view, the appropriate answer is it’s time to be moving as directly and fast as possible to off-Terra settlements *and* an appropriate business network for them to exist in. Zubrin is doing serious work in this topic but so far as I know, nobody is doing anything like the five-years analog settlement studies that need to precede putting those settlements out there. Nor using computer resources to model the economics networks those settlements will need.
For instance, it’s obvious that one single settlement off-Terra can’t be viable. NASA speaks of “bases” thereby avoiding this detail, I’m speaking of the future where it’s central. So *how many* settlements is the hard minimum to set out there? How many additional settlements is prudent? This can be studied in computer models, like gaming.
That these kinds of work are not going on, signals to me that nobody has the longterm objectives in mind they prepare for. Somebody needs to do this. And in my view, NSS being at a crucial turn, could choose now to turn toward fewer parties and flashy websites, and toward some serious preparation for the future.
I think NASA can’t do this, because it’s an appendage of Washington. I don’t know of anyone anywhere who is working this difficult problem on the scale it needs. In my view, there’s the soft spot in reality that matches NSS’s need for something to do *and* NSS’s moment right now of choice for the future.
Cheers — Martha Adams