By Marina Koren
In April 2010, Barack Obama gave a big space-policy speech at the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s 30-year-old space shuttle program was winding down, and the space agency was looking ahead toward the next era of human space exploration.
Obama was feeling expansive. “By the mid-2030s, I believe we can send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to Earth. And a landing on Mars will follow,” he said. “And I expect to be around to see it.”
This week, with only 100 days left in his final term, Obama renewed that ambition in an op-ed in CNN. Someday, he wrote on Tuesday, “instead of eagerly awaiting the return of our intrepid explorers, we’ll know that because of the choices we make now, they’ve gone to space not just to visit, but to stay.”
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