Photo: Linda Tanner
Purdue president Mitch Daniels is urging a congressional committee to put America‘s space program on a flight path to Mars.
Daniels co-chaired a National Research Council study of the value of manned space flight, which concluded it‘s only worth the risk and expense if NASA reaches for new worlds. The panel recommended an ultimate goal of a Mars landing.
The former governor told the House Science, Space and Technology Committee a Mars mission is at least 30 years and hundreds of billions of dollars away.
“It’s a lot of money, but we are talking about over decades,” Daniels said. ”The committee knows but not every citizen knows that the NASA human space flight budget is a couple tenths of a percent of the federal budget.”
Daniels says the cost of a Mars project shouldn’t scare off policymakers. He notes that money would be spread over three decades or more, and says the investment would be worth it, both in terms of the likely technological breakthroughs the effort would produce and a less quantifiable human need to pursue knowledge.