Tags: lamar smith | mars | space | race

Rep. Lamar Smith: US Should Go to Mars in 2021

Friday, 28 Feb 2014 01:09 PM

By Melissa Clyne

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
    A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Citing national pride and security, along with a need to inspire future generations, Rep. Lamar Smith is asking NASA to fast-track to 2021 a "flyby" of Mars and Venus.

"We are not the only nation interested in extending humanity's reach into the solar system," the Texas Republican said Thursday at a hearing of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, which he chairs. That committee oversees NASA programs.

"One of the three major space-faring nations will reach Mars first. The question is whether it will be the U.S. or China or Russia."

In a prepared statement, Smith said that with the 2011 retirement of the space shuttle, and landing a man on the moon 45 years ago, "there's a sense that America is falling behind, with our best days behind us."

A shot of inspiration is desperately needed, according to Smith, and what could be more inspiring than "a journey to Mars."

"The Red Planet has long intrigued mankind," he said. "A Mars flyby with two astronauts onboard NASA's Orion crew vehicle could use the Space Launch System that NASA is developing."

The alignment would take advantage of a 2021 alignment between Earth and Mars to minimize the time and fuel required to make the trip, he explained. Instead of taking the normal two to three years, it would cut the time in half. Right now, NASA is not planning a Mars mission until the 2030s.

Texas Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, the leading Democrat on the panel, didn't share Smith's enthusiasm, deeming it too risky for a "new crewed spacecraft."

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican, agreed, calling a NASA flyby "a foolhardy use of very limited government resources," especially since there are numerous private entities proposing to launch their own missions, according to USA Today.

In December, The Los Angeles Times published an op-ed piece by Louis Friedman — executive director emeritus and co-founder of the Planetary Society, and co-leader of the Asteroid Retrieval Mission Study at Caltech's Keck Institute for Space Studies — in which he expounded on what he characterized as an international "space race."

He referred to a competition between China and India, "dramatized by India's launch of a Mars orbiter (in November) and China's launch (in December) of a lunar lander and rover. China also attempted a Mars orbiter last year, and India has already conducted a successful moon orbiter mission."

Japan also is expediting lunar and asteroid missions and Europe has two Mars missions planned for this decade, according to Friedman. Russia, meanwhile, is "tripling its space budget" and also has missions to Mars scheduled this decade.


Related Stories:

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

House Oversight Panel to DHS: White House Needs Better Fence

Monday, 22 Dec 2014 20:10 PM

House lawmakers are pressing Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson for details on how his department is going to boost . . .

NYC's Metropolitan Opera Hocks its Chagalls

Monday, 22 Dec 2014 21:07 PM

New York City's Metropolitan Opera Association had its rating cut by Moody's Investors Service to three steps above junk . . .

Ga. Airline Worker Arrested in Gun Smuggling Plot

Monday, 22 Dec 2014 20:59 PM

Federal authorities say an Atlanta airline employee is suspected of helping smuggle firearms to New York City on passeng . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved