Mission to Mars still a long shot for NASA
By The Washington Post
Published: Monday, May 6, 2013, 8:51 p.m.
Is NASA going to send astronauts to Mars?
That's the agency's stated goal, though there's no mission yet, no program per se, certainly no budget and, at the moment, NASA doesn't have the technology to land astronauts safely and then bring them back to Earth. So humans-to-Mars is aspirational, with the tough logistical and political issues yet to be resolved.
Amplification of NASA's long-term Mars strategy arrived on Monday at the outset of a three-day conference at George Washington University called the “Humans to Mars Summit,” or H2M. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden served as the keynoter, and he was soon followed by senior agency officials who have Mars on the mind.
All expressed cautious optimism that the agency is on the right path to get to Mars eventually, though some members of the audience were openly impatient and more than a little dismissive of NASA's current plan to send astronauts on a mission to inspect a lassoed asteroid.
As the panelists were preparing to leave the stage, they received a nudge from the stage itself, when Artemis Westenberg, the president of Explore Mars — the nonprofit organization that staged the conference — announced that her organization had surveyed Americans and found that only 14 percent favor a visit to an asteroid.
She quoted favorably a line from one of the asteroid-mission skeptics: “Why stand on a rock when you can walk on a world?”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Justices to hear critical software case
- Beer black market exploits enthusiasts, ignores law
- Pearl Harbor survivor keeps story alive
- Wind-power companies won’t face federal prosecution in eagle deaths
- Dems to overlook probe of nominee
- Navy deems drone launch from submarine success
- GOP unlikely to block ban on plastic guns
- Ex-prof hopes to save art for Detroit
- Baker ordered to serve gay couples
- Measure happiness, U.S. told
- Traffic tickets — and revenue — plunge in Dallas