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Planetary Society Aims For Mars!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
05/03/2004

CONTACT:
Mat Kaplan
Email: mat.kaplan@planetary.org
Phone: +1-626-793-5100

Louis Friedman, Executive Director of The Planetary Society, testifies today to the President's Commission on Implementation of U.S. Space Exploration Policy, more commonly known as the Moon to Mars Commission. Simultaneously, the Society urges the world's public to join its Aim for Mars! campaign "to support the setting of a human exploration goal for all countries around the world."

As the largest space interest group in the world, the Society is addressing three main topics at the hearing: public interest, international cooperation and lunar missions.

"We believe that the new space exploration policy is extraordinarily well crafted, balancing the public interest in science and exploration with the practical need for changing America's human spaceflight program," said Friedman.

The Planetary Society recommends that the Moon to Mars Commission create "an international lunar way-station to prepare the way for human missions to explore Mars." A lunar way-station could serve as a test-bed for the technology and experience needed to create future outposts on Mars to sustain a robotic and human presence on the planet's surface.

The testimony also urges a re-examination of American policies about use of foreign launch vehicles and export control laws inhibiting international cooperation; the earliest possible retirement of the shuttle; and moving ahead with new transportation for exploration beyond Earth orbit.

The Planetary Society petition states, "Humanity has been stalled in Earth orbit for more than 30 years since the end of the Apollo program. The human spaceflight program needs a goal, and the goal is to Aim for Mars."

Promoting a bold new vision of human spaceflight, the Society asks the public to support the space initiative by signing its on-line petition to Senator John McCain, Chairman, and Members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and Representative Sherwood Boehlert and Members of the House Committee on Science. The petition will be delivered to Congress signed by US citizens.

The citizens of all countries are encouraged to Aim for Mars! by signing the petition. The Planetary Society will deliver the messages to the appropriate space authorities around the world.

Louis Friedman is testifying Monday, May 3rd, at commission hearings held at the Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue, New York City, NY between 3 and 4 PM. The commission is hearing testimony from invited speakers both May 3rd and 4th. Hearings are open to the public.

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About The Planetary Society

The Planetary Society has inspired millions of people to explore other worlds and seek other life. With the mission to empower the world's citizens to advance space science and exploration, its international membership makes the non-governmental Planetary Society the largest space interest group in the world. Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman founded The Planetary Society in 1980. Bill Nye, a longtime member of The Planetary Society's Board, serves as CEO.