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Not your grandfather's space program

Obama offers new road map for NASA

Speaking at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center April 15, President Obama outlined a new plan for the space agency that would forgo sending astronauts back to the moon, but would send humans to an asteroid in 2025 and into orbit around Mars a decade later.

The strategy would rely on private aerospace companies to ferry crew and supplies into space. It would also cancel a program known as Constellation, which is aimed at developing a heavy-lift rocket and vehicles to carry astronauts back to the moon, in favor of pursuing a new rocket that would take humans well beyond that destination.

“I am very happy about the introduction of new innovative commercial approaches in human space flight, because we’ve been trapped into a very bad cul-de-sac for 40 years,” says planetary scientist and former NASA associate administrator for science Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo. Stern predicts that Congress is likely to approve Obama’s plan.

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