News / Science & Technology

NASA Reflects on Past, Plans for Mars

The U.S. space agency is celebrating a major anniversary this month as it prepares for a challenging future in an age of strained budgets.

U.S. astronaut John Glenn first orbited the Earth 50 years ago on February 20, 1962.  And when he returned, an adoring public greeted him, along with a burgeoning U.S. space program that propelled men to the moon in 1969.

Decades later, astronaut Cady Coleman is part of NASA's human space exploration legacy.  She has been to space three times, including a nearly six-month stay on the International Space Station last year.

"The fact that we have a space station in orbit right now, six people living up there - working, doing experiments that we can't do down here - it makes me very excited about the future," said Coleman.

President Barack Obama says that future includes plans to send people to Mars.  

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden recently outlined the proposed budget for next year.  

"The missions currently at Mars, the Mars Science Laboratory on its way, and MAVEN [i.e., the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN mission] - well into development - will provide many years of data to help us understand the Red Planet and our needs in future years to meet the president's challenge to send humans to Mars in the mid-2030s," said Bolden.

Rovers, landers and orbiters already provide scientists with details about Mars.  The Mars Science Laboratory, also known as Curiosity, is set to land on the Red Planet in August.  The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution(MAVEN), spacecraft that would study the Martian atmosphere could launch as early as next year.

But there are also projected cuts.  Bolden has announced that NASA will not move forward with the ExoMars missions, a joint NASA-European Space Agency endeavor.  The ExoMars mission set for 2016 to search for gaseous clues about possible life on Mars was supposed to be the first in a series of planned Mars collaborations.

NASA astronaut Cady Coleman says she is confident that humans will get to Mars one day.

"It's not going to be as soon as any of us would like, but we're not a patient people, not here in the U.S. and not around the world," noted Coleman.  "People are destined to explore, and we live in a universe.  Mars is the next logical choice, technically, and we'll be there when we're ready, and I'm a big fan of being ready.  I actually want to send people to Mars and have them come back, and we have a lot of work to do before we're ready to do that."

Coleman says she would gladly return to space, a sentiment demonstrated by one of NASA's original seven astronauts.

Thirty-six years after his orbital flight, John Glenn broke new boundaries, lifting off aboard the space shuttle in 1998 to become, at age 77, the oldest person to fly in space.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More