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U.S. Mars exploration put off till 2030s

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In “Life on Mars? Funds to Find Answer Fade” (New York Times, March 13, 2012), Kenneth Chang reports,

Just as NASA is on the cusp of answering the most fascinating questions about Mars — is there, was there or could there be life there? — the money needed to provide the answers is about to be abruptly withdrawn, a victim of President Obama’s budget request for 2013, scientists say.

Two ambitious missions that NASA had hoped to launch to Mars, in 2016 and 2018, will be canceled.

“Right now NASA’s Mars science exploration budget is being decimated,” Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, said in testimony before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. “We’re not going back to the moon. Plans for astronauts to visit Mars or anywhere beyond low-Earth orbit are delayed until the 2030s on funding not yet allocated, overseen by a Congress and a president to be named later.”

But if scientists are drifting, as claimed, toward a belief that billions of planets might accidentally support life – and that we live in a multiverse anyway – why should a government support exploration that, so far, has always returned negative results? Surely, living by faith in the concepts alone and spinning bizarre theories is vastly cheaper.

See also: Cosmology: Why the future belongs to intelligent design

Umm going to Mars would be great to set up a station there so we can then go out a bit farther. It would be great if we could set something up on our Moon, first. Then start hopping, to Mars and beyond (if that is all our technology wll allow us to do). Joe
"Having a woman land first foot on mars ruins the fun." But - sob, sob - that was UD News staff's pension plan. To found a retirement colony on Mars. Why you think we care so much about this stuff? ;) News
Good. No reason to go to mars. Its fun but too much money for no gain. There is no life or ever was out there. The universe was made for a original eternal living humanity to populate. If they did do a trip to Mars they would wouldn't have astronauts deserving but instead a diversity thing. Having a woman land first foot on mars ruins the fun. The others too. Robert Byers

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