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Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Bush to Announce Moon/Mars Mission Tomorrow

Neil Armstrong in 1969.
Neil Armstrong in 1969.
Credit: NASA
US President George W. Bush will make an announcement tomorrow detailing his plans for manned missions to the moon and, later, to Mars. The news of the announcement has already met much criticism, primarily with such a mission's cost. Several days ago the Associated Press inaccurately reported that a mission could cost $1 trillion US Dollars. Even conservative estimates are some 50 times less expensive. But many politicians have criticized Bush for this new space initiative, saying the cost far outweighs any profitable return. "If you ask me whether the best use of $1 trillion of American taxpayer money in the coming years is to land a mission on Mars or the moon, I'd say no," presidential candidate Sen. Joe Lieberman said on CNN this week. However, proponents of the new initiative say that NASA's current budget, if refocused, could suffice. Part of the president's announcement will include news that the space shuttle will be phased out of commission by 2010, when the International Space Station is scheduled to be completed. It will be replaced by a new vehicle capable of travel to and from the moon. NASA currently receives $15 billion dollars in federal funds, but Bush is expected to increase that funding by 5%.

- posted by Alex @ 21:50 EST