US will send people to Mars by 2030s, Barack Obama Says

By By Hanneke Weitering
October 11, 2016, 10:53:09 AM EDT

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President Barack Obama wants NASA to send astronauts to Mars by the 2030s and eventually into deep space, he wrote in a CNN op-ed published today (Oct. 11).

"We have set a clear goal vital to the next chapter of America's story in space: sending humans to Mars by the 2030s and returning them safely to Earth, with the ultimate ambition to one day remain there for an extended time," Obama wrote in the op-ed. The president went on to discuss government partnerships with commercial partners to "build new habitats that can sustain and transport astronauts on long-duration missions in deep space," possibly referring to NASA's Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships or "NextSTEP" program.

The president's announcement echoed his earlier vision for space exploration that became law in 2010, but placed new emphasis on venturing beyond Mars.

His message comes shortly before Obama is set to host America's top scientists, engineers and students at the White House Frontiers Conference in Pittsburgh on Thursday (Oct. 13). The purpose of the conference is to find ways to improve science, technology and innovation in the United States and to "find the next frontiers," the president wrote.

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