Tuesday, June 10, 2014

NASA strategy can’t get humans to Mars, says National Research Council spaceflight report

Source: Washington Post

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The 286-page National Research Council report, the culmination of an 18-month, $3.2 million investigation mandated by Congress, says that to continue on the present course under budgets that don’t keep pace with inflation “is to invite failure, disillusionment, and the loss of the longstanding international perception that human spaceflight is something the United States does best.”
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“Absent a very fundamental change in the nation’s way of doing business, it is not realistic to believe that we can achieve the consensus goal of reaching Mars,” Mitch Daniels, the former Indiana governor and co-chair of the committee, said Wednesday morning in an interview.
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The committee did not delve deeply into what the private sector, operating commercially, might accomplish independently of the government. There are many space buffs, including SpaceX founder Elon Musk, who have said they want to land on Mars. But committee member John Sommerer said Wednesday that it is unrealistic to expect a commercial company to spend the money and take on the risk necessary to achieve human exploration on the Martian surface.
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