Yesterday, 50 top scientists met at Stanford University to discuss the future of the space program. The combination of academics and NASA advocates considered whether the plans to reach the Moon by 2020, build a long-term lunar base there, and eventually send humans to Mars were still in the best interest of the country.
The fact that we'll soon have a new administration that might have different priorities for space exploration was one of the motivations for the meeting. G. Scott Hubbard, a consulting professor in aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford, said “as a nation we cannot abandon human exploration to other countries, nor can we further consume the remaining science budget and relinquish our roles in Earth observation, solar system exploration and space astrophysics.”
What do you think? Should we bag the idea of sending people to Mars in favor of studying our own planet? Or is the space program a vital part of our international role in scientific advancement?