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Report calls for new approach for sending humans to Mars
Posted: Thu, Jun 5, 2014, 10:50 AM ET (1450 GMT)
Mars seen by Hubble August 2003 (STScI) A report by a Congressionally-mandated committee released Wednesday reaffirmed Mars as the long-term destination of human space exploration, but concluded NASA's current approach won't achieve that goal in the foreseeable future. The report by the National Research Council's Committee on Human Spaceflight concluded that Mars is the best long-term "horizon goal" for human space exploration, but called for a "pathways approach" that calls for a specific set of intermediate destinations leading up to Mars. The committee concluded NASA's current approach, a version of the "flexible path" from the 2009 Augustine Committee report, would not get people to Mars for many decades. The report did not recommend a specific architecture, but did argue that NASA's budget would need to increase by as much as double the rate of inflation in order to afford any of several proposed architectures in the report. The committee also endorsed greater international cooperation, including with China; current federal law forbids bilateral cooperation between China and NASA.
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