Witnesses from outside the U.S. government—including Frank Eden, representing AGU—testified about the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's budget on March 12 before the House Science Committee's subcommittee on space. One major topic of the hearing was familiar: what should NASA's top priority be, space science or human exploration of space.
“Obviously this committee has a huge job of trying to set priorities—consistent with the budget restraints—that will end up giving the American taxpayer the most bang for his buck, as well as providing direction for our space program,” said F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Wis.), the subcommittee's ranking Republican. Another recurring topic, cited by the subcommittee's new chairman, Ralph M. Hall (D-Tex.), as well as by other committee members, was how to translate NASA-developed technologies into commercial gain for the U.S. in the global marketplace. Hall and others also posed a number of questions on a topic the chairman called a special concern of his: whether it would be economically and scientifically plausible for the U.S. to use the Soviet space station Mir for certain activities, such as medical applications.