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The future of the U.S. manned shuttle mission is considered bleak, as NASA needs at least $3 billion more per year

The U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee now believes NASA must come up with an additional $3 billion per year to be able to launch manned missions to the moon or to Mars.

The committee said the U.S. space agency absolutely must rely more on private contractors to help fly astronauts back to the International Space Station, and other low Earth-orbit destinations.  Five years ago during the Bush era, it was planned for NASA to get back to the moon by 2020 -- a goal that is extremely unlikely to be met.

Although China, Russia, Japan, India, and the United States all have outlined plans to get back to the moon, it seems like Mars is the true goal for every major space nation.

"You can say that Mars is a destination, but it's really more like Mars is a goal because we're not setting a date," said Leroy Chiao, a member of the 10-person committee, who spoke with Reuters.  "It's saying these are the things we need to do to build up the infrastructure to get to Mars, this is how much money we have now, and we'll see in the next several years what we think we can get done. Then it'll be for the next budget cycles after that to figure out when we might actually get to Mars."

China is expected to be the next country to reach the moon again, according to U.S. space officials, noting there just isn't enough funding going into NASA's long-term manned missions.

Furthermore, the current fleet of space shuttles, which were supposed to be retired in 2010, will likely fly into 2011, the panel said.  President Barack Obama's advisers will analyze the committee's findings, but it's unknown when the president will begin to outline what lies ahead for NASA over the next few years.

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RE: Misty Dingos your miss informed
By Lhyet on 9/9/2009 10:46:00 AM , Rating: 2
Hell NASA spent 1 million on a pen that could write in space. The soviets are smarter they just used a pencil.

And then had to deal with tiny pieces of wood and lead that broke off during writing which would float around in space and cause a health hazard.

There's a reason for everything~

By mugiebahar on 9/9/2009 3:53:43 PM , Rating: 2
Please read this link,
The total debt now carried by the U.S is estimated at close to 10 trillion not 10 trillion a year.

RE: Misty Dingos your miss informed
By werepossum on 9/10/2009 1:06:28 PM , Rating: 2
And then had to deal with tiny pieces of wood and lead that broke off during writing which would float around in space and cause a health hazard. There's a reason for everything~

Graphite is highly conductive and makes very small particles. Anyone who would use pencils in a zero G environment is either hatter mad, Biden stupid, or funded by an economic system which can afford nothing better.

RE: Misty Dingos your miss informed
By maven81 on 9/10/2009 7:38:12 PM , Rating: 2
Then I guess NASA is stupid because you two are quoting an urban legend.
Both the Soviets and NASA used pencils. And the space pen wasn't developed by NASA, it was developed by the Parker company, who gave it to NASA for free (if memory serves). A PR stunt.

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
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