Today president Obama released his plans for the NASA program and the future of American participation in space exploration. A bold new course of space exploration now begins with President Obama's April 15th
remarks that includes the major news of a plan to send a manned craft to the planet Mars within the next three decades, according to ABC News
and explorations of close asteroids in the mid 2020's. President Obama made his new plan clear at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida as he reinforced his decision to cancel the multi-billion dollar Constellation program which was a point of controversy. This new plan will be less costly in short term according to CNET
, involving up to 7,000 jobs possibly lost, while president Obama believes it will spur further exploration into deep space in the future.I think the plan of setting Mars as a destination within the next three decades should be commended for its lofty and seemingly impossible nature. Setting goals like this will set the bar higher for scientists and explorers to research beyond their current needs and drive progress forwards. This kind of research and goal setting is the only way to push the envelope forward and embrace goals that seem far fetched in the present day. Just as the moon landing would have seemed an unreachable goal at the turn of the twentieth century, the concept of astronauts stepping on Mars in my lifetime does not seem feasible, and that is how the most incredible goals should seem.
I think NASA struggles form being less than one percent of the national budget, but still has tremendous research and capabilities than the general public can not possible be aware of. I think perhaps we have found what there is to find on the moon for now and that many nations have found ultimate research thereof inconclusive. I am not sure how going to Mars would change life on earth, but I do think that researching further outer space could bring more light onto the surface of the unknown in our galaxy.
Supporters of Obama's space plan include astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who said the key was to maintain sustainable objectives, according to CBS News. Those that are opposed to this plan include the potential job losses at Florida's space center, though President Obama's plan does set aside money for the displaced workers. People who were hopeful for results of the Constellation and moon programs also are not yet pleased with this new plan as it is being laid out.
Space Flight Now Online says that $5.8 billion will be set aside over the next five years for private industry to carry out their own research though no specific companies are being named to signing on board yet. NASA says the goal of this is to augment current research with fresh minds and further innovation. The benefit here is that knowledge becomes shared and becomes mutually beneficial. There are also more jobs capable of participating in the research when private industry becomes engaged.
Craig McMurtie, ABC News
Evan Scwartz, CBS News
Space Flight Now Online