TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Mission to Mars still a long shot for NASA

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Washington Post
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?”

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. 28 evacuated as fire hits oil platform off Louisiana coast
  2. As oil production soars, so do pipeline leaks
  3. D.C. mansion murder suspect had help, police say
  4. Calif. farmers’ group will cut water use in historic deal
  5. Coal’s worst fears affirmed in analysis of Obama climate plan
  6. Police officials rethink approach to training
  7. Suspect in killings of wealthy D.C. family arrested
  8. Ex-Va. lawmaker plans to wed teen in sex scandal
  9. Senators push for full funding for Amtrak
  10. George Harrison guitar from 1963 fetches $490K at auction
  11. Legislators continue to slow trade proposal