Leonard David reports that interest is growing, in Congress and elsewhere, in a move to bring back the recently (and, not to put too fine a point on it, stupidly) defunded NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC). NASA currently has no office dedicated to seed money and studies for long-term technologies that we will need in fulfilling the Vision for Space Exploration. NIAC was killed to add a fraction of a percent to the money available for the development of the VSE hardware.
I understand the NASA Adminstrator's desire to push the VSE as far along as possible to make it hard to kill if the White House gets an "unfriendly" occupant next year. (That, at least, is my interpretation of the push to kill anything necessary to put more money into the VSE and its hardware program, Constellation.) However, NASA's job is to think about the future. Someone needs to be thinking beyond simply getting the Orion and Ares onto the launch pad.