Page images
PDF
EPUB

that we are going to be first on the moon or we are going to get there before the end of the decade.

Senator CASE. Just one final question: Does that suggest that possibly it might be better not to give the decision, final decision, to NASA but to put it in the hands, say, of a scientific agency such as the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Ramo. I think the problem is much broader than that-
Senator CASE. I am talking now about the fellowship program.
Dr. Ramo. The fellowship program?
Senator CASE. Yes.

Dr. Ramo. I think that could very well be a good idea. But you would have to guard again to see that it was properly run.

You know it is possible to speak of a "disinterested, scientific" agency only to find that it may be dominated by five or six people interested in one particular field.

Senator CASE. We are all human.
Dr. Ramo. It is not easy to find the objective man.
Senator CASE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Edmondson?

MUST WATCH FOR IMBALANCE

Senator EDMONDSON, Mr. Chairman, just one or two questions.

As I understand your testimony, Dr. Ramo, the substance of it is, at least to this point, that you would favor a slowdown on the moon program if it caused an imbalance in the other aspects of our space effort?

Dr. Ramo. That is correct, Senator.

Senator EDMONDSON. Do you find that imbalance to exist at this time?

Dr. Ramo. No, I do not, but I consider it too early to say, because the program really hasn't blossomed out to utilize fully the total facilities and resources it will require and the contracts have hardly begun to have their impact. The university programs are just beginning to be influential. We are in the first 10 percent of the program and I think it can go either way.

. Senator EDMONDSON. So you don't find any imbalance in the current situation but you are concerned that this is a definite possibility unless it is carefully watched?

Dr. Ramo. That is correct, and when I make these statements I am thinking more of the engineering world, the industrial world and the military classified or security projects, rather than the university field in which I am only involved indirectly.

Senator EDMONDSON. Thank you, sir.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. We will start this afternoon promptly at 2 o'clock.

Dr. Urey, you will be the first witness. He has a relatively short statement. I only want to say Dr. Urey, we are extremely happy that you are here with us, realizing that while you may have celebrated recently your 70th birthday it is 40 years since you got your doctorate and nearly 30 years since you got a Nobel Prize for chemistry and many of us have watched you with a tremendous amount of interest.

Thank you, Dr. Ramo, for your testimony.

(Whereupon, at 12:20 p.m., the committee recessed, to reconvene at 2 p.m., the same day.)

(The indicated questions of Senator Smith were answered for the record by Dr. Ramo as follows:)

ON THE MANNED LUNAR PROGRAM

1. Are you in favor of a space program which will ensure the preeminence of the United States in the space environment?

Answer. Yes, provided that it is not a frenzied, crash program that is given an overriding priority over all other national projects, including urgent military programs.

2. If so, do you think the program should include an effort to explore the moon? Answer. I do.

3. Should the moon exploration program be confined to instrumented landings or also include the landing of men and their safe return to earthy

Answer. I believe the program should include the landing of men and their safe return to earth, but on a reasonable, sensible schedule and with adequate preparation.

4. Do you think the manned lunar program should have a priority for achievement during this decade?

Answer. I think there should be a reasonably high priority to achieve such a goal at the earliest practical date, but that the priority should be reviewed and adjusted depending upon the results of the program as it proceeds, i.e., the difficulties or unknowns that we encounter and the developing needs of competitive projects, particularly, of course, the military ones.

5. How much of the system we build for going to the moon and back will be usable after this objective is accomplished?

Answer: I believe that most of the engineering developments and facilities that will make up this program will be used for military and commercial purposes of space, with additional beneficial implications for many indirectly related fields of industry and technology.

6. Do you consider that the manned lunar program is essential to our national defense?

Answer: I consider that a manned space program is essential to our national defense; the manned lunar program is one way to insure that we attain all of the necessary capabilities. We could, in my opinion, stop short of the goal of landing men on the moon and returning them and still fill essentially all of our national defense requirements for men in space.

7. Do we have an adequate program for manned spaceflight missions near the earth as distinguished from those required for lunar flights?

Answer: I am not sufficiently acquainted with the details to answer this as regards the relation of further manned spaceflight missions near the earth on the overall manned lunar program. However, for future military missions, we do not, in my opinion, have enough manned spaceflight missions near the earth as distinguished from those required for the lunar program.

ON GOVERNMENT POLICY AND SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION

1. Can you make constructive proposals concerning the organization of the process whereby the Government obtains sound advice on scientific and technological matters?

Answer. Considering the rapidly growing importance of science and technology, I believe that congressional committees concerned with these matters need to have larger staffs of scientific experts who assist them full time. If this could be arranged, then additional public hearings on the scientific matters at issue could be held. Although this might have the effect of increasing controversy, in time the additional talking out of the issues well in advance would pay off.

2. What criteria would you adopt in providing advice and counsel to the executive branch of the Federal Government?

Answer. I find myself pessimistic about improving greatly the advice and counsel to the executive branch of the Federal Government from individuals outside the Government. I would much rather see a concerted effort to increase salaries in Government relative to industry so as to make possible increased scientific resources within the executive branch.

3. What do you consider the best type of organization and process whereby the legislative branch can obtain the kind of information needed to make decisions on policies, programs, and budgets involving scientific and technological problems?

Answer. The legislative branch, in addition to increased staff, as indicated above, might consider setting up a special scientific organization to aid the entire Congress-a sort of scientific equivalent of the GAO, a "General Scientific Office.” This would have advantages because it would be difficult to acquire the numerous, and constantly changing, specialists required for the operations of the various individual committees unless they could use a common pool, and it is becoming true that virtually every committee of Congress is forced to deal with scientific and technological matters.

4. Have you any suggestions for improving coordination between Government departments, and between national and international space programs?

Answer. It would appear to me that the new Office of Science and Technology in the executive branch of the Federal Government should be able to cover these duties or, if not, should be extended so that it can.

5. Do you think the organization of the scientific community through its specialized associations and through the National Academy of Sciences is sufficient to insure the maximum contribution of scientists and engineers to the formulation of Government policy?

Answer. No, I do not. But the problem is so basic that it is hard to see how to improve it except on a long-range basis. There has to be wider public understanding of the impact of science and technology for one thing, and this can be done only with time. Science and technology are, after all, highly specialized fields, and it is not at all clear that most scientists and engineers have much to contribute in the way of policy except to provide technical answers to technical questions. It is in the higher tasks of assembling overall questions and answers to include and weigh many factors in combination with science and technology where the great bottleneck of formulation of Government policy is to be found. Ultimately, the ideal solution might be for a larger fraction of key Government leaders in all branches of Government to be individuals with broad scientific and technological backgrounds—not specialists, but true experts in Government who have included science to a greater extent in their experience than one could expect on the average in 1963, in view of how rapidly science and technology problems have accelerated.

6. What suggestion do you have for bringing about a closer relationship between members of the scientific community and NASA personnel?

Answer. I do not think that it is proper to imply that there is not a close relationship between members of the scientific community and NASA personnel. After all, NASA personnel are themselves members of the scientific community. Also, there simply is no such thing as a true, so-called scientific community but rather only collections of individuals in industry, Government, universities, and the foundations with varying degrees of competence in science and engineering and with quite diverse views, special interests, and degrees of association with NASA programs,

To insure NASA's competence in science, and to assure NASA's being able to attract the required talent, the greatest attention needs to be given to the selection of the top NASA personnel. Here again, the committee should review regularly the salaries for the top personnel and other aspects of satisfaction for those holding a NASA position. If people of high stature in science and engineering are in the top jobs, the matter of relations between NASA personnel and personnel outside of NASA will likely be in a satisfactory state at all times, even though there may be differences of opinion on one or another aspect of NASA programs continually.

AFTERNOON SESSION

The CHAIRMAN. Dr. Urey, come up, please. Doctor, we are very happy to have you here as a witness in this hearing. We appreciate your being here.

(The biographical sketch of Dr. Urey follows:)

DR. HAROLD C. UREY, PROFESSOR OF CHEMISTRY AT LARGE, UNIVERSITY OF

CALIFORNIA SAN DIEGO, LA JOLLA, CALIF. Professor Urey was born in Walkerton, Ind., April 29, 1893. He received his Ph. D. in chemistry from the University of California in 1923. He has received honorary doctors degrees from 12 American and 7 foreign universities. He has held teaching positions in the chemistry departments of the University of Montana, Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, and the University of Chicago. He has held distinguished service professorships at the University of Chicago and the University of Oxford, England.

Professor Urey is a member of many American and foreign professional societies and has received many American and foreign awards including the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1934, the Willard Gibbs Medal of the American Chemical Society, the Franklin Medal, and the Medal for Merit. He is the author of several books and numerous research papers. His interests include atomic structure, isotopes, the discovery of deuterium, the abundance of the elements, paleotemperatures, and the origin and evolution of the planets.

STATEMENT OF DR. HAROLD C. UREY, PROFESSOR OF CHEMISTRY

AT LARGE, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO, LA JOLLA, CALIF.

Dr. UREY. Thank you very much, Senator Anderson.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF DR. UREY'S INTEREST IN SPACE

I am going to ad lib a little bit in this statement of mine which is rather brief, and I would hope the reporter gets what I have to say.

First of all, may I say that I was in the space program long before the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was organized. Toward the end of the 1940's I undertook to make some studies in regard to the origin of the earth, the origin of the solar system, and wrote a book on the subject at that time. It has been received fairly well, I would say.

During the early fifties I wrote an article with a student of mine, Dr. Harmon Craig, on the subject of what we knew about the chemical composition of meteorites, which is a paper very much referred to these days.

In the middle fifties with another colleague, Professor Seuss. I wrote a paper on the abundances of the elements, which has been used extensively by physicists to devise theories with regard to the origin of the elements.

I had studied the moon, what was known about it, and continued these studies all through the 1950's. I therefore became interested in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration after a considerable length of time studying things of this sort.

I have produced a theory of the origin of the moon which some people take rather seriously. It is my observation that no one takes anyone else's theories in regard to these matters really seriously. It at least was considerably more thoughtful than merely a question as to whether there is water on the moon or dust on the moon or something of that sort.

I wish to make this first brief statement largely because I would like to say that Dr. Abelson's remarks this morning about people who replied to his editorial being prejudiced on the part of the Space Administration and therefore probably not entirely reliable—he did not say that, he only inferred it I would just like to say that I was in the space work before the National Aeronautics and Space Administration came along.

IF SPACE CAN BE EXPLORED, SOMEONE WILL DO IT

Some 5 or 6 years ago I was interviewed by a reporter for one of the newspapers in Chicago in regard to the proposals that were being made at the time to explore space and especially to land a man on the moon. My interview was an exceedingly discouraging one because I was not at all enthusiastic about the plans. I felt that the expense of the program would be all out of proportion to the scientific knowledge to be gained. The next morning I called up the reporter and asked that the interview not be published-in fact, that it be destroyed. The reason for the change in point of view was that overnight it had occurred to me that when men are able to do a striking bit of discovery, such as going above the atmosphere of the Earth and on to the Moon, men somewhere would do this regardless of whether I thought that it was a sensible idea or not. All of history shows that men have this characteristic. Therefore, it seemed to me that the proper attitude for a scientist was to aid the program and especially to try to see that good science was done during such explorations. This has been my attitude since then. I have tried to help on this problem along these lines, and I have advised the National Aeronautics and Space Administration during these years, and never for a moment would it occur to me that the questions that I would like to ask in regard to the moon and would like to have answered would justify me asking the people of the United States to appropriate the money that is being spent on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, in order to satisfy my curiosity about these subjects. I have no such great conceit as that at all, and never did have.

REASONS FOR SPACE PROGRAM ARE NOT SIMPLE

The reasons for undertaking the space program are not simple at all, and for the most part scientists are in no better position to judge the value of the program than any other intelligent citizens of the United States or of the world. I am sure that the Congress of the United States in appropriating funds for this program has been well aware of the fact that science is not the principal objective of the program and the program is not justified in terms of the science that will be done. There are problems of the prestige of the country and political reasons, both domestic and international, that must be taken into account in evaluating such a program.

EXPLORATION IS INNATE CHARACTERISTIC OF HUMAN BEINGS

As I have mentioned above, the real reason for undertaking the space program is an innate characteristic of human beings; namely, some curious drive to try to do what might be thought to be the impossible—to try to excel in one way or another—to try to do what has never been done before. The whole written history of men of all countries attests to this characteristic of human beings. Many examples of this can be drawn.

Homer's poems record the interest of the ancient Greeks in things of this sort. We have the continuing interest in exploration of all kinds. How the ancients dared to take fragile boats across what were dangerous seas. How the Portuguese under Henry the Navigator dared to go around Africa to India. The enormous daring of Chris

« PreviousContinue »