NASA marked another milestone last week with the successful landing of the Perseverance rover on Mars. Perseverance is now the fifth and most technologically advanced rover to reach the surface of the red planet.
Perseverance’s main objectives are to search Mars for signs of ancient life and collect soil samples that will eventually be brought back to Earth. Yet the mission will also have broader implications for space policy. The discovery of ancient life, for example, could influence policy regarding planetary protection, future human missions, and international norms for exploration. The fact that Perseverance could be joined by a Chinese rover later this year highlights the growing space competition between the U.S. and strategic rivals.
The United States needs a whole-of-government approach to address these and other emerging issues in the space domain. This does not require the creation of a new bureaucracy. Instead, President Biden should reestablish the National Space Council, which has proved highly successful. Doing so would keep space issues on the radar of our nation’s highest officials and encourage the coordination necessary to solve problems that cut across multiple federal agencies.
Federal law requires a National Space Council to be chaired by the Vice ...