The head of NASA is scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill today about a recent survey on air safety that found problems like near collisions happen far more frequently than previously recognized.
NASA had said it was withholding the information to avoid upsetting air travelers and hurting airline profits. But the Associated Press reported on the survey last week and the space agency has come under fire from lawmakers and media alike for withholding safety research.
NASA administrator Michael Griffin hints he's going to reverse course and make the findings public today. He had been scheduled to explain to Congress why the agency was keeping the 8-and-a-half-million-dollar survey secret.
The questionnaire asked pilots to state how many times they had encountered problems with equipment, weather, tower communications and other safety issues over a 60-day period.
Although NASA is associated mainly with spaceflight, its experts also study things like aviation safety.