Robert Zubrin, President of the Mars Society, continues to speak out against the President’s budget proposal for NASA in an article simply titled Obama’s Failure to Launch. We find Zubrin’s discontent with the President’s proposal telling, as the Mars Society was founded to promote human missions to Mars and has been doing so for more that a decade.
One would think that they would welcome the President’s proposal to send humans to Mars, albeit sometime after the proposed first human orbiting of the Red Planet in the 2030’s or beyond. However, Zubrin makes some very valid arguments against the current proposal, namely a five-year heavy lift study despite already having developed and flown the Saturn V heavy-lift launcher in 1967, as well as the development of new electric propulsion technologies without the space power sources to drive them. Clearly, Zubrin prefers the concrete milestones and firm schedule of the Constellation program, which would succeed if given funding by Congress commensurate with the original program plans.
“The President desperately tried to spin the abandonment of the Moon program not as a retreat, but as a daring advance. We’ve been to the Moon before, he declared, and so we have. There’s a lot more of space to explore; we should set our sights on points beyond, to the near Earth asteroids, and reach for Mars. Indeed, we can and should.
But the President’s plan makes no provision for actually doing so. Instead, he proposes to simply stall.”