President Barack Obama said America will work with private companies in a bid to send humans to Mars by the 2030s.
Not only does the President want to get humans to Mars and “remain there for an extended time”, but he has also set his sights on bringing them back to Earth.
Obama first said in 2010 he wanted to send astronauts “to orbit Mars and return them safely to Earth” by the mid-2030s with “a landing on Mars” to follow.
In an article on CNN.com, Obama said: “We have set a clear goal vital to the next chapter of America’s story in space: sending humans to Mars by the 2030s and returning them safely to Earth, with the ultimate ambition to one day remain there for an extended time.
“Within the next two years, private companies will for the first time send astronauts to the International Space Station.
Alan Ladwig, a former top NASA official in the Obama and Clinton administrations, said he likes the intent, “but it’s a bit late in the term to shine a light on the humans to Mars exploration.”
The president planned to discuss the initiative further when he meets with scientists, engineers and academics at an innovation summit Thursday in Pittsburgh.
Obama did not elaborate on what a Mars mission would cost or how the U.S. would pay for it. But he said it will require years of patience, testing and education.