Obama Outlines the Future of American Space Exploration

Kait Richmond

President Obama visited the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Apr. 15 to explain his plans for the future of American space exploration. Despite criticism from heavyweights like Neil Armstrong, the president stands behind his new goal. Rather than sending astronauts to the moon, they will go to an asteroid, and then to Mars.

To top it all of, Obama optimistically adds, “I expect to be around to see it.”

By 2525, the president says that a new spacecraft will be ready for travel that can go beyond the moon. The United States will start by sending astronauts to an asteroid for the first time in history.

“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.

Under the Obama space plan, federal spending will bring more private companies into space exploration after NASA’s shuttle fleet retires in September. The companies will receive almost $6 billion to build their own spacecrafts. Obama says that his plan will not boost the rate of job losses to space program workers, as some critics are claiming.

“We’ll modernize the Kennedy Space Center, creating jobs as we upgrade launch facilities. And there is potential for even more job creation as companies in Florida and across America compete to be part of a new space transportation industry.”

Obama goes on to say that this could generate more than 10,000 jobs nationwide over the next few years. He also mentions that his plan would add more than 2,500 jobs to the Cape Canaveral area over the next two years than the plan by the Bush administration, which was to send astronauts back to the moon.

“We’ve been there before,” Obama said. “There’s a lot more of space to explore.”