A New Era of Space Exploration

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The United States government has made space exploration a high priority, but it at a high cost with a high reward. A new 17.5 billion dollar budget established for 2015 has been set in place for NASA to invest in new shuttles and other technologies required for new exploration (Klotz). Until 2017, which is when the first American shuttles are schedule to be ready, the cost for an American to go to the International Space Station on a foreign shuttle would cost nearly 65 million dollars a seat (Klotz). With the shuttle program that had been around for 30 years coming to an end in 2011 by President Obama, a complete overhaul at NASA is underway. The president reflected on the shutdown of the historic program, “The shuttle did some extraordinary work in low orbit experiments, the International Space Station, moving cargo. It was an extraordinary accomplishment and we’re very proud of the work that it did. But now what we need is that next technological breakthrough.” (Malik- “Obama says last space shuttle launch ends one era, but opens another.”). NASA has its eyes set on capturing an asteroid and placing it in high orbit around the moon for astronauts to explore, an unmanned mission to mars by 2017 that also includes a possible manned flyby mission of Mars and Venus by 2021, and a trip to Jupiter’s icy moon, Europa, by 2025 (Foust). With these bold goals set for the future, private enterprises do not have the funding for these missions, but thanks to the United States government, NASA will. The Mars mission alone is set to cost around 3.1 billion dollars, the asteroid mission is to cost around 133 million, and the Europa mission already begun budgeting (Leone). President Obama has high expectations for NASA and their missions. The ...

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