In an interview with the USA Today editorial board, NASA’s Chief Administrator, Charles Bolden, pointed to Mars as a prime exploration destination but insisted that any US manned missions to Mars would be international efforts.
“I have no desire to do a Mars landing on our own,” Bolden said. “The U.S. cannot always be the leader, but we can be the inspirational leader through international cooperation” in space exploration.
The upcoming Curiosity rover landing, scheduled for August 5th, should fuel public interest in the Red Planet. NASA has focused heavily on public involvement in the event, scheduling viewing parties, offering multiple press conferences to hype the event, releasing a free Xbox Kinect game to simulate the landing, and publishing several sensational videos describing the landing process. NASA even struck viral gold with their “Seven Minutes of Terror” video, which quickly spread across the internet last month. It is hoped that the Mars Science Lab mission will find signs of previous microbial life on Mars. Such a discovery, combined with a similar NASA PR push, would certainly boost public interest in a manned mission.
Don’t forget to tune in to NASA TV this weekend to watch the Curiosity landing!
Read the USA Today article at: NASA chief: U.S. won’t go it alone on manned Mars mission – USATODAY.com