Now seems to me to be a propitious time to push for a vigorous concrete program of deep space and planetary explorations.
Our next best bet is 1964, and we have to push fairly hard and soon to keep the schedule from slipping to 1967!
In view of the imperfect reliability and payload limitations of our vehicles, the productivity of 1964 missions should be
better assured and strengthened by organizing fleets of several vehicles, not just single shots. Furthermore, these proposals
should help to dramatize the scientific objectives and help to get them necessary political support.
Apart from what we might do ourselves, this program also gives us a tangible goal for international cooperation. Many proposals
for competition with the USSR have been unrealistically ambitious. And I think I would dread the committee work that would
be needed to effectuate a marriage of US experiments with USSR vehicles. But I would like to propose that 1964 be designated
as an "Interplanetary Year" . This would be a proposal of the NAS through COSPAR. It would urge the governments to
place special emphasis on planetary and interplanetary missions during that year. It would ask for special emphasis on mutual
discussions of plans (the optimum launch dates are too obvious for any security) with a view to getting the most effective
return, especially of interplanetary data. And the communications return of the vehicles should be coordinated for the best
exploitation of the missions. This may be specially pertinent to the relay of data from planetary landers and orbiters. Altogether
the plan would be consistent with the ideals of Kennedy's proposals.
To prepare a strong position on this, I would suggest that a small group of the Space Science Board prepare a brief paper,
perhaps amplifying (and connecting?) the enclosed suggestions for Board action on transmittal to NASA and PSAC. If we can
react to this and communicate by phone and mail we may be able to forfend another meeting. If it can't be helped, I would
be very pleased if we could get together here or at La Jolla.
There is some possiblity of COSPAR-related sessions with USSR participation this August and it would be gratifying to be able
to broach this suggestion at these occasions.
Professor of Genetics
cc: Dr. Berkner, Dr. Simpson, Dr. Rossi, Mr. Derbyshire
KW: for Space Science Board -- Mars opportunities; Best is 1964, then
it slips to 1967; fleets to ensure success and tangibility of the
planetary program; interplanetary cooperation; COSPAR;
Let 1964 be the InterPlanetary Year!;