HOUSOTN, TX – NASA set a goal to get humans to Mars sometime in the 2030’s. But a new report from the National Research Council says that’s not likely.
The report explains NASA’s expectations are unrealistic at best. The problem is two fold says Dr. Carolyn Sumnners, of the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
“The big problem is money, and the problem that goes right along with it is energy. We need to have a propulsion system that gets us to Mars in a hurry… we really do have to fund it, at a level that we don’t seem willing to fund it,” says Dr. Sumners.
So what happened to the robust NASA that won the race to the moon? Well in 1969 NASA’s percentage of the federal budget was around 2.75%. In the decade prior to that it had reached near 4.5%. What is it now? .48%
But even if by some miracle there is a new commitment to funding, the safer bet may be starting a little closer to home.
Dr. Sumners explains, “There may be a strong argument that we need to practice on the moon first. Where we’re closer, if something goes wrong we can probably get the people back, like Apollo 13.”
The report goes on to say that a more realistic goal for NASA is reaching the red planet by around 2050.
NASA has posted a press release on their website that says both “our horizon goal should be a human mission to mars…” and that they “…intend to thoroughly review the report and all of its recommendations.”
Dreaming big is one thing, heck it got us to the moon. But still if this report is right, NASA either has it’s head in the clouds, or buried in the ground if it thinks we’re getting there in the next 16 years.