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In an Oct. 15, 2012, Baker Institute policy report, Kirstin Matthews, fellow in science and technology policy; Brent Carey, graduate intern; Kenneth Evans, graduate intern; and Padraig Moloney, Ph.D., graduate intern, examine the challenges NASA has faced in funding science research. Using nanotechnology as a case study, the authors describe the agency's lack of continuity and long-term strategic planning in research and development (R&D) -- and assert NASA's future could lie in focused R&D of new technologies.

Setting specific objectives for basic research and aligning the objectives with a nationally recognized plan for space exploration could help to stabilize congressional appropriations for NASA in the long-term, they write. At home, reinvesting in basic sciences could help find a new role for the Johnson Space Center after the termination of the shuttle program.

 Read "NASA's Relationship with Nanotechnology: Past, Present, and Future Challenges."