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by Samir Shakhbaz
Washington DC (Voice of Russia) Jan 15, 2014
On Thursday, Washington, D.C. hosted the first ever ministerial-level meeting of space-faring countries.
High-ranking officials from more than thirty nations came to the U.S. capital to attend the International Space Exploration Forum (ISEF) organized by the U.S. Department of State.
Among the burning issues discussed were the future of space exploration, international cooperation, their ambitious plans for future missions beyond low-Earth orbit, as well as the potential for robotic space exploration.
One of the most courageous projects stems around capturing an asteroid, diverting its flight, and bringing it closer to the Earth before finally setting it on an orbit just beyond the orbit of the Moon.
Speaking at the opening of the forum, the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the assistant to the President, Dr. John Holdren said that this plan could represent "an unprecedented technological achievement".
According to Holdren, the project "would integrate the best of science, technology and human exploration capabilities and draw on innovative prowess of our scientists and engineers. That mission will significantly raise the bar of what humans can do in space".
And of course, the final stage of this project is to send man to Mars. Holdren stressed that to achieve this goal, a massive coordination of resources, effort, and talent will be required from the international community. In conclusion he added, "We may have different flags patched to our spaceships, and different cultures, different traditions, different political systems, but as the success of the International Space Station has shown we can transcend those difficulties in space".
The International Space Exploration Forum takes place against the background of the latest good news from NASA on the future of the International Space Station (ISS).
The American Space Agency announced that the Obama Administration has approved its request to extend the mission of the ISS for four years longer than originally planned.
They hope this will allow scientists and astronauts to conduct their research with the help of the station up to the year 2024. The recent examination of the ISS showed that the station can be operational until 2030.
Source: Voice of Russiar
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