Posted by tourdemars to Budget at June 25, 2014 1:46 PMIt will take unprecedented unity, funding and international teamwork to land astronauts on Mars within the next 30 years, the co-chairmen of an independent government panel advocating such a mission told a congressional committee Wednesday. Then the two co-chairmen got a glimpse of why those goals won't come easy. GOP lawmakers at Wednesday's hearing bashed the Obama administration for abandoning a return-to-the-moon mission in favor of using an asteroid as a steppingstone to Mars. Democrats said Republicans have no right to complain about lack of money for the space program when they've pushed for budget cuts. And lawmakers from both parties raised doubts about whether potential foreign partners, notably China, can be trusted. Former Republican governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana, co-chairman of the National Research Council panel that issued the 285-page report earlier this month, acknowledged the enormity of the task. "Getting humans to the surface of Mars will be a daunting challenge," Daniels, now president of Purdue University, told members of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. "Succeeding in this endeavor will require, we believe, a very different way of doing business than the nation has been practicing in recent decades."
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