Just this morning, President Obama published an op-ed on CNN, calling for America to lead the race to launch humans onto Mars, hopefully, to settle there one day. The statement comes about two weeks after the announcement from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk that they were going to start their mission to Mars through an Interplanetary Transport System.
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“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,” said President Obama in his CNN op-ed. “Getting to Mars will require continued cooperation between government and private innovators, and we’re already well on our way. Within the next two years, private companies will for the first time send astronauts to the International Space Station.”
One of those private companies is SpaceX, who has their eyes on building a colony on Mars.
The Observer reached out to the SpaceX program for their thoughts on what the President had to say. They said: “SpaceX was founded with the ultimate goal of helping make humans a multi-planetary species. As Elon said at his recent talk, it will take a combination of public and private efforts to build a self-sustaining city on Mars,” said SpaceX’s Phil Larson to the Observer. “It’s exciting to see President Obama advocate for the next frontier in human spaceflight, and we look forward to participating in the journey.”
The President's piece acts as a prelude to the White House Frontiers Conference being held in Pittsburgh. “This week, we’ll convene some of America’s leading scientists, engineers, innovators and students in Pittsburgh to dream up ways to build on our progress and find the next frontiers. Just five years ago, US companies were shut out of the global commercial launch market. Today, thanks to groundwork laid by the men and women of NASA, they own more than a third of it,” said President Obama.
The President harkened back to a speech given at the Kennedy Space Center, talking to NASA administrator Charles Bolden: “In the years since, we’ve revitalized technology innovation at NASA, extended the life of the International Space Station, and helped American companies create private-sector jobs by capitalizing on the untapped potential of the space industry,” said the President.
For more information about the SpaceX Mission to Mars, check out our guide to the latest news.