Monday, January 07, 2008

Mars Society: NASA Funding Bill Could Cripple Vision For Space Exploration

The bad news keeps coming. Not only do the leading presidential candidates have little interest in the VSE, but now Congress is watering it down. This press release from The Mars Society says it all:

Wednesday, January 02, 2008 - The Mars Society would like to express its disappointment concerning the NASA portion of the Congressional Omnibus Appropriations Bill that was signed by the President last week.

While the bill provides additional support for science missions - including for exploration of Mars - it fails to adequately fund NASA’s plans to return to the Moon and then send humans to Mars. One of the worst aspects of the bill is that it contains language that would prohibit “funding of any research, development, or demonstration activities related exclusively to human exploration of Mars”.

Not only is this language counter-productive to running a coherent multi-year exploration plan, but it is not consistent with the NASA Authorization that Congress overwhelmingly approved in 2005. In that Authorization bill, Congress approved NASA’s plans to send humans to Mars and supported the expenditures that will be necessary to make that goal possible - something that the Omnibus bill does not do.

“Although this bill is unlikely to have a large immediate impact on the program, it sets a terrible precedent,” said Mars Society Political Director Chris Carberry. “If this language makes it into future budgets, I guarantee that this program will slowly become a Moon-only effort - or worse. Congress and the next President of the United States need to accelerate this program rather than limiting it. We certainly will not be creating an effective program or be serving the tax payers well by keeping this program endlessly on ‘life-support.’”

The Mars Society calls on members of the United States Congress to oppose any efforts to include this language in any future budgets. It is time for the United States to fully commit to sending humans to Mars as soon as possible.

The Mars Society is a private international grassroots organization dedicated to furthering the case for human exploration of Mars. Since its founding in 1998, The Mars Society’s strong commitment to both outreach and research has put it at the forefront of Mars exploration proponents, with 7000 members in 40 countries. The organization currently operates multiple world class research facilities which investigate many technical and human factors associated with human space exploration. Significant political and public outreach has led to several hundred meetings with U.S. congressional offices, and has otherwise reached hundreds of millions of people through various media outlets.

For more information, please contact Chris Carberry, or visit

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