NASA reportedly doesn't have enough money for a trip to Mars

It’s no secret that NASA’s long-term goal is to get people to Mars. But how realistic is that objective, really? Unfortunately, the prospects aren’t looking good right now. The National Research Council has conducted a review of NASA’s space program that suggests its budget isn’t practical for anything more than trips to lunar space, and might not even stretch that far. So long as the administration’s finances aren’t keeping up with inflation, any attempt to push past low Earth orbit would “invite failure” and “disillusionment,” the Council says.

A sweeping review of NASA’s human spaceflight program has concluded that the agency has an unsustainable and unsafe strategy that will prevent the United States from achieving a human landing on Mars in the foreseeable future. The 286-page National Research Council report, the culmination of an 18-month, $3.2 million investigation mandated by Congress, says that to continue on the present course under budgets that don’t keep pace with inflation “is to invite failure, disillusionment, and the loss of the longstanding international perception that human spaceflight is something the United States does best.” The report makes a case for sending astronauts back to the moon. That had been a key element of NASA’s strategy under President George W. Bush. But President Obama and his advisers explicitly opposed another moon landing (“I just have to say pretty bluntly here: We’ve been there before,” Obama said in a speech on space policy in 2010).

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