Comments on NASA Mars Plan

For Immediate Release
October 26, 2000

Mat Kaplan
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +1-626-793-5100

The Planetary Society, long an advocate of a vigorous, international program of Mars exploration, strongly supports NASA's series of planned missions outlined today in their description of a new Mars program. At the same time the Society is disappointed with what was not said -- the lack of long term commitments to either a permanent robotic presence or human missions on Mars.

Dr. Louis Friedman, Executive Director of The Planetary Society, made the following comment regarding NASA's goals for Mars:

"The US government made a national space policy for a 'permanent robotic presence on Mars,' that now seems lost. More disappointing in NASA's plan is the failure to connect the robotic program to the popular interest in eventual human exploration of Mars. NASA's Office of Space Science has done a good -- but limited -- job with their new plan. NASA and the European partners are planning great missions to Mars, but they are still missing the opportunity to connect to the public interest in sending human explorers to the Red Planet. Until they do, the program will continue to be underfunded and less purposeful than it should be."

Visit our website more information about Mars and the Society's programs connected with Mars.

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.