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Arguing for a continuation of the nation's human space exploration program, a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council concludes that the expense of human spaceflight and the dangers to the astronauts involved can be justified only by the goal of putting humans on other worlds.The report recommends that the nation pursue a disciplined "pathway" approach that encompasses executing a specific sequence of intermediate accomplishments and destinations leading to the "horizon goal" of putting humans on Mars.The success of this approach would require a steadfast commitment to a consensus goal, international collaboration, and a budget that increases by more than the rate of inflation.

"The United States has been a leader in human space exploration for more than five decades, and our efforts in low Earth orbit with our partners are approaching maturity with the completion of the International Space Station.We as a nation must decide now how to embark on human space exploration beyond low Earth orbit in a sustainable fashion," said Jonathan Lunine, director of the Center for Radiophysics and Space Research at Cornell University and co-chair of the committee that wrote the report.

Couldn't agree more. To read more, click here.