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Thursday, August 1, 2002

Closer Faster

(MSNBC) - While NASA wrestles with out-of-control costs and program management woes embedded within the international space station project, behind-the-scenes efforts are under way to shape long-range space goals. One such endeavor involves NASA, industry and Russian space engineers hammering out a humans-to-Mars mission, backed by funding from the U.S. State Department. One avenue for putting human space exploration back on track is work through the International Science and Technology Center - an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the nonproliferation of weapons technology of mass destruction. NASA is a full-fledged and leading participant. The European Space Agency, as well as the French space agency, are also active players in the centerís studies. Work has already wrapped up on Project 1172, a two-year-long study that detailed a viable strategy of placing a human crew on Mars for a tour of duty stretching out for a little over a month. "Iím not sure how much closer we are to Mars, but certainly by providing a platform that allows these groups to work together it may bring us at least a little bit closer... or at least closer faster," said Anne Harrington, acting director of the Office of Proliferation Threat Reduction at the State Department.

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- posted by Alex @ 19:13 EST