If Chuck Bolden is serious about going to Mars, he’s got me on his side. I can forgo the Moon if we go to Mars. I think we do need to be on the moon, but I want to go to Mars! If he keeps this up he will have redeemed himself in my eyes. I will work my heart out to get us to Mars.
From the Houston Chronicle:
“…NASA’s emerging exploration plan will call for safely sending humans to Mars, possibly by the 2030s, and de-emphasize exploration of the moon, the agency’s leader said Tuesday. “That is my personal vision,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. “I am confident that, when I say humans on Mars is a goal for the nation, not just NASA, I’m saying that because I believe the president will back me up.” Bolden cited appearances set before congressional committees on Feb. 24 and 25 as a deadline for creating the “beginnings of a plan” for human exploration. At those hearings, Bolden said, he will be able only to give a range of dates for a Mars trip because scientific questions, such as mitigating radiation exposure and bone loss, remain unanswered. But he confidently said the 2030s, even the early 2030s, were viable if given a reasonable and sustained budget. Bolden was in Houston this week making his first visit to Johnson Space Center since the release of President Barack Obama’s budget on Feb. 1. Obama has been on the defense as the budget, while adding $6 billion in new money over five years, calls for the cancellation of the Constellation program that the Houston space center manages. Bolden’s expansiveness on the attractiveness of Mars as a clear goal for NASA may blunt some of the criticism Obama has received for not addressing space policy since taking office, nor clearly outlining what will replace Constellation. Under Constellation, NASA was to build two new rockets to fly astronauts to the International Space Station and, by the early 2020s, back to the moon where a lunar base would be built. Researching and living on the moon would be a steppingstone to exploring outward to destinations like Mars, perhaps by 2040….”