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Plans for manned mission to Mars get a boost

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Plans for manned mission to Mars get a boost

Postby Charles » Thu Jul 15, 2010 1:05 pm

A Senate panel has cleared the way for more aggressive efforts for a manned mission to asteroids, Mars, and for other objectives.

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Senate Panel Approves NASA Plans to Send Astronauts to Asteroid, Mars

A key Senate committee on Thursday approved an authorization bill that would allow NASA to add one more space shuttle mission before retiring the fleet, and press forward with ambitious plans to send astronauts to an asteroid and on to Mars.

After months of debate and criticism, the Senate's Commerce, Science and Transportation committee passed the NASA authorization bill by a unanimous vote. The bill will now move up to the full senate for review.

NASA is an agency in transition. Weve had to take a clear, hard look at what we want from our space agency in the years and decades to come," said Sen. John D. Rockefeller, IV (D-West Virginia), who chairs the Senate committee, in a statement. "Ive made my views on this matter very clear: NASAs role cannot stay static. It must innovate and move in a new direction."

The extra shuttle mission would fly in 2011, after two more flights currently planned for November 2010 and February 2011.

In addition, the new authorization bill directs NASA to immediately begin work on a huge, heavy-lift rocket which would be vital for any asteroid or Mars missions by astronauts instead of waiting until 2015 as proposed by President Barack Obama in his initial space vision announced earlier this year.

The bill would also advance the development of spacecraft for deep space missions to as early as 2016, rather than 2025 the goal for the first crewed mission to arrive at an asteroid announced by President Barack Obama earlier this year.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38266005/ns ... ence-space
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