Marshall Space Flight Center got our first official visit today from NASA’s new Deputy Administrator, Dava Newman, and I have to say it was a very encouraging visit. During her all-hands address to the center team this morning, I got to ask her a question; she had done a good overview of the agency-wide big picture of what her job entails, but I was curious what was the one thing for her personally that if she accomplished at NASA, she would consider her tenure a success.
“My long-term goal is boots on Mars. That’s going to be my focus here.”
Have I mentioned lately what an exciting time this is to be a part of this agency?
In general, she was impressive. Very obviously passionate about the work of NASA, and, when she talked about her personal labor of love, a revolutionary spacesuit design, very obviously extremely technically capable. And, as a former MIT professor, very passionate about education and inspiring the next generation of explorers.
She went on to talk about her excitement for the planned mission to explore Europa, and to say that one of her goals is to help better articulate our plans for the Journey to Mars. Again, also things I approve of.
Plus, the new deputy administrator of NASA also said this: “I love surprises. I didn’t realize how much improv is part of this job.” Which pretty much immediately puts her high on my list of favorite NASA officials ever.