Astronaut, in Madison visit, to discuss NASA’s changing plans

April 15, 2010 By David Tenenbaum

Former astronaut Harrison Schmitt, one of the last people to walk on the moon, will present a forceful case for manned space exploration in a talk at the University of Wisconsin–Madison on Monday, April 19.

The talk comes several months after the Obama administration proposed to cancel the Constellation Program, which was developing hardware and systems for human exploration of the moon and Mars.

These systems were designed to replace the aging space shuttles. Opponents said manned exploration is much more expensive, and less productive, than robot space missions.

But Schmitt, a member of the crew of Apollo 17, says that the administration “has announced its formal retreat on American space policy.”

An honorary fellow in the UW–Madison College of Engineering, Schmitt will speak at 6:45 p.m. at 1610 Engineering Hall. The talk is sponsored by the University of Wisconsin Chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.