ZUBRIN: Obama shoots down Mars exploration

Space community outraged as real missions are replaced by simulated science

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Mars is key to humanity’s future in space. It is the closest planet that has all the resources needed to support life and technological civilization. Its complexity uniquely demands the skills of human explorers, who will pave the way for human settlers. It is, therefore, the proper goal for NASA’s human-spaceflight program and the proper priority for its robotic scouts. But instead of exploring new worlds, NASA’s science budget will go to providing slush funds for climate-change propagandists.

America’s planetary exploration program is one of the great chapters in the history of science, of civilization and of our country. Its abandonment represents nothing less than an open embrace of American decline, done for the purpose of advancing a perverse ideology inimical to American liberty, prosperity and fundamental values. This is unacceptable.

If the administration is allowed to shut down the Mars exploration effort, NASA will lose its most effective endeavor - one of the few that delivers the goods that justify the entire space program as a national enterprise. The nation will lose one of its crown jewels, the scientists will lose their chance to find life beyond Earth, and humanity will lose the one significant effort that is making real and visible progress toward opening the frontier on another world.

Congress should not allow that to happen.

Robert Zubrin is president of the Mars Society and author of “The Case for Mars” (Free Press, 1997). His new book is “Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudoscientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism” (Encounter Books, 2012).

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