Saying that public interest in space exploration far exceeds Congress's willingness to fund it, Stan Kent, president and founder of Delta Vee, Inc., last night said a new kind of partnership between government and private enterprise might be the key to the survival of the space program.
Speaking to an audience of nearly 100 at the first meeting of the Harvard-Radcliffe Space Research Group (HRSRG) and the Harvard Student Branch of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, (HSBAIAA), Kent advocated "bringing space to the consumer level."
"Space has never been so popular. The people who made Star Wars made $800 million-that's enough to fund three missions to Halley's Comet or build another space shuttle," Kent said.
Since its founding a little over a year ago, Delta Vee has raised $100,000 in donations from private citizens and turned these funds over to the National
Two Harvard astronomers are now interpreting data from Voyager II, the unmanned space satellite whose voyage they helped plan. Voyager II passed by Saturn in late August, sending back to earth the clearest pictures ever taken of the ringed planet.
"We have a flood of data now," Allan F. Cook II, a member of the Voyager II Imaging Team, said yesterday, adding, "It's going to take at least three years just to interpret the data we have."
The most important information seen so far seems to concern the mystery of the composition of the planet's rings, Fred S. Franklin '54, an associate of the Imaging Team, said yesterday, adding that the two Voyager missions "increased by a factor of 1000" the amount of data scientists have about the rings.
Cook and Franklin, who have joint research appointments with the Harvard College Observatory and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, have been