Expert Panel: NASA Seems Lost In Space, Needs Goal

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The Space Shuttle Endeavour is situated in it's new home at the hangar in the California Science Center on October 14, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Endeavour is on its last mission - a 12-mile creep through city streets, past an eclectic mix of strip malls, mom-and-pop shops, tidy lawns and faded apartment buildings. Its final destination is the California Science Center in South Los Angeles where it will be put on display. NASA's Space Shuttle Program ended in 2011 after 30 years and 135 missions. (Photo by Lawrence K. Ho-Pool/Getty Images)

The Space Shuttle Endeavour is situated in it’s new home at the hangar in the California Science Center on October 14, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Endeavour is on its last mission – a 12-mile creep through city streets, past an eclectic mix of strip malls, mom-and-pop shops, tidy lawns and faded apartment buildings. Its final destination is the California Science Center in South Los Angeles where it will be put on display. NASA’s Space Shuttle Program ended in 2011 after 30 years and 135 missions. (Photo by Lawrence K. Ho-Pool/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A panel of outside experts says NASA is adrift without a coherent vision for where it should be going.

The report is by the National Academy of Sciences. But the panel doesn’t blame the space agency. It faults the president, Congress and the nation.

President Barack Obama in 2010 told NASA to plan to send astronauts to a nearby asteroid.

But the panel of experts says few in NASA or the space community have embraced that destination. NASA hasn’t allocated much money for it and its vague strategic plan avoids mention of an asteroid mission.

Veteran astronaut and panel member Bob Crippen, who piloted the first space shuttle mission, said he has never seen the space agency so unfocused.

NASA officials contend they have clear and challenging goals.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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