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Kitty Hawk Makes Way For Mars

Get ready for one:one resolution on the plains of Mars
by Robert Zubrin
Los Angeles - Dec 22, 2003
Human Mars exploration advocates emerged as the winners this week from the decision by President Bush to defer any decision about America's next major goal in space into 2004.

Since Admiral Gehman's Columbia accident report, which strongly criticized NASA for not having a goal for its manned spaceflight activity, the Bush administration has been engaged in a top level review to determine a destination for America's space program.

In the weeks prior to the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brother's flight December 17th, a group of people opposed to NASA setting humans to Mars as its goal had attempted to rush the Bush administration into a preemptive decision to make a pseudo-commitment to return to the Moon in 20 years.

In addition to being the wrong goal, this formulation would have avoided the need for any positive action in this administration or the next, and thus would have led nowhere at all. Instead it would simply have set the stage for yet another decade of wasteful constituency-driven random spending by NASA and zero progress in manned spaceflight.

In part because of the mobilization by the membership of the Mars Society demanding a real goal, and the right goal, for the space agency, the bandwagon for answering the Gehman report with a fake lunar program proclamation at Kitty Hawk was derailed.

As a result, the decision process to determine NASA's new goal will now be prolonged until AFTER the Mars exploration rovers Spirit and Opportunity land on the Red Planet January 3 and 24, respectively.

If either of the two Mars rovers should now land successfully, the extraordinary manifestation of public excitement about Mars exploration that will inevitably occur will make nearly impossible any new space policy that excludes human Mars exploration as its goal.

So keep it up Mars Society, we've won a round. Pray for Spirit, and keep pouring on the pressure. Do not believe any disinformation spread by opponents who claim that the White House decision will be made regardless of public opinion. That is false. The White House is VERY interested in knowing where the public stands on this issue. Your opinion matters. Make it known.

President Bush may be reached at [email protected], 202-456- 1111, or by writing President George W. Bush, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20500. Postal letters have the most impact, but if you have time, use all three methods to send Mr. Bush the message he needs to hear:

NASA needs a driving goal to focus its energy, and that goal needs to be humans to Mars.

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Nostalgia For Medieval Explorers Won't Make Us Space Explorers
Honolulu - Dec 03, 2003
Talk to Space Cadets long enough and they will inevitably start using historical analogies to promote their particular vision for future space exploration. Living in Hawai'i, I constantly encounter references to the great Polynesian canoe voyages, writes Jeffrey F. Bell.

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