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Obama: America Will Make Leap to Mars

President Barack Obama vowed on Tuesday that the United States would reach Mars by 2030.

“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,” Obama wrote in a CNN op-ed.

The Hill reports:

The president said the mission’s ultimate goal is make it possible for humans to stay on Mars “for an extended time.”

The first step is for the NASA to collaborate with private companies to send astronauts to the International Space Station for the first time. That will occur “within the next two years,” Obama wrote.

Obama said that more than 1,000 companies across the country are working on private space initiatives.

“We are working with our commercial partners to build new habitats that can sustain and transport astronauts on long-duration missions in deep space,” he wrote. “These missions will teach us how humans can live far from Earth — something we’ll need for the long journey to Mars.”

The announcement came days before Obama will travel to Pittsburgh to speak at a White House conference on science and technology.

Obama isn’t the first U.S. president to set his sights on Mars. In 2004, President George W. Bushset a goal of returning to the moon by 2020 with the goal of eventually sending humans to Mars.

“With the experience and knowledge gained on the moon, we will then be ready to take the next steps of space exploration: human missions to Mars and to worlds beyond,” Bush said during a speech at NASA headquarters that year.

Photo credit: NASA.

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