Since his announcement that he would be cutting massive amounts of funding to NASA, the president has been contending with the outcry of public disdain for the decision. Fortunately, the president has announced supplementary programs that could move the space program forward and possibly even send humans to explore new locations in the future.
Of course Obama’s announcement was largely to quench the fires claiming he is trying to end the US’ human spaceflight endeavors. Mr. Obama made the claim that no one was more committed to manned spaceflight than he was before an assembled 200 members of the space conference to explore the future of manned space flight. But Mr. Obama also said that the space program was traveling a divergent path from what he considered the most efficient way into space, “We’ve got to do it in a smart way… We can’t just keep doing the same old things we’ve been doing and thinking that’s going to get us where we want to go.” Along with this commitment, several enthusiasts of space travel were heartened by Obama’s announcement that we would be making hard plans to fulfill the ultimate current long-term goal of the NASA space program: put a human being on Mars. Obama said we would reach this goal in 2030 five years after we would put a human being on a large asteroid in 2025. He also said that the visit to Mars would not simply be a human exploration of the red planet, but would ultimately be made with the goal of returning and having an extended program that some say may lead ultimately to colonization. If this is true, the human race may be in for an interesting century.
Obama punctuated the announcement by saying, “Step by step we will push the boundaries not only of where we can go, but what we can do… 50 years after the creation of NASA, our goal is no longer just a destination to reach. Our goal is the capacity for people to work and learn, operate and live safely beyond the Earth for extended periods of time.” The president displayed great confidence that mankind would achieve these goals by then laying out where we should be in thirty years technologically to make this goal more feasible.
Several have voiced concerns that with no Soviet Union to compete with, our ambitions to get to Mars are at best directionless and at worst a waste of time. Of course given the natural resources present on Mars, and the fact that it would be a second chance for humanity should anything ever happen on Earth, it is a vital destination for the progression of the human race. And is it not the nature of the human race to explore, broaden its horizons, and expand not only to make life better for itself but also to embrace challenges and to remind ourselves that though humanity may be infinitesimally small in size in comparison to the vast expanses of the universe, we are certainly more than capable enough to overtake any challenge that meets us.