NASA Says "Mars Matters" for the Future of Space Exploration

Wednesday, 13 April 2016 - 2:35PM
Space
Mars
Wednesday, 13 April 2016 - 2:35PM
NASA Says "Mars Matters" for the Future of Space Exploration
NASA's Journey to Mars has faced some criticism as of late, but when NASA Chief and former astronaut Charles Bolden addressed the National Space Symposium yesterday, he had only one message: "Mars matters."
Opening quote
"Even though we here recognize why Mars matters," Bolden told the audience (via Space.com), "it's important every now and again to remind ourselves, so that we'll be more effective in reminding our friends and neighbors."
Closing quote

He went on to list the reasons why a mission to Mars is so important, from finding signs of past extraterrestrial life to setting up habitats and making humanity a multi-planetary species. After every list item, he told the audience to repeat the refrain "Mars matters," and emphasized that seemingly impossible scientific innovation, especially when it comes to spaceflight, have often unexpectedly come true:

Opening quote
""When Robert Goddard first started publishing his research and telling people about his belief that we'd someday be able to send a rocket all the way to the moon, the idea seemed so, well, 'out of this world' that people laughed at him. The press nicknamed him 'moon man.' Others called him 'moony' and 'moon mad.'"
Closing quote

Speaking of the Moon, Bolden didn't address the recent reports that NASA's Journey to Mars is unfeasible, that it is scientifically aimless and prohibitively expensive, and that a return trip to the Moon would be a far more realistic (and useful) goal for the near future. 

Opening quote
"[There is a] consensus starting to emerge in the scientific and policy communities," he said, surrounding NASA's "plan for sending American astronauts to Mars in the 2030s."
Closing quote
Science
NASA
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Mars

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