President Obama, others in Washington, pushing for humans on Mars by 2030's

John Logsdon, founder of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, says there are many hurdles to address before humans even think about landing on Mars.
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Are humans headed to Mars? President Obama wrote Tuesday about his vision to put people on the Red Planet sometime in the 2030s.

It's the next frontier. At least that is the hope of President Obama who laid out an optimistic vision to put humans on Mars in the next 20 years.

"This human spirit of exploring, being on another frontier," said John Logsdon, founder of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University.

He says reaching Mars is a goal that has always fascinated humans.

"I think there is kind of an underlying sense that if we’re going to explore space with people, Mars is the place to go," said Logsdon.

President Obama says a partnership between NASA and private companies will get us there faster. Logsdon says despite the partnership, there are many hurdles yet to clear. There are questions about building and landing a rocket that can get us there. What would people eat? How would radiation affect us? and many more.

"There are a lot of obstacles to getting humans on Mars," said Logsdon. "It’s not, you know, a straightforward just light the rocket and go."

Congress is helping fund NASA to get humans on the Red Planet. The Senate Commerce Committee recently passed a bill that would give almost $20 billion to the space agency. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), a former astronaut, voted for it.

"The program is well underway," said Nelson. "We have to build new technologies. There’s research on a new plasma rocket, that instead of taking eight months to get to Mars would get us there in 39 days."

Nelson is confident this legislation will pass through Congress and move the program along.

"We are by nature explorers and adventurers," said Nelson. "And the space program is a visualization of that."

The President says the best way to make this reality is the entire country, public and private, working together.

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