Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Column Says Consensus for a Mars Mission Is Growing and Financially Feasible
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Column Says Consensus for a Mars Mission Is Growing and Financially Feasible

Washington, D.C. — Whether it’s a “space race” with the Russians to send humans into orbit and then to the moon or the current era of cooperative efforts that have resulted in the International Space Station, human space exploration has required buy-in both culturally and financially. The Center for American Progress released a column today in conjunction with a keynote address from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden showing that there are reasons to be optimistic about the consensus for a mission to Mars and that with only a modest additional cost, the United States can lead the way.

“Funding a mission to Mars is far from a financial pipe dream,” said Peter Juul, CAP Policy Analyst and author of the column. “NASA’s current budget adjusted for inflation could get us there by the 2030s, and a modest increase will provide a financial cushion while leaving funding for robotic explorers such as the wildly successful New Horizons probe to Pluto. We must not allow the growing consensus for exploration to be stymied by a lack of will to pay for it.”

The relative cost of a mission to Mars will be dwarfed by that of the Apollo missions to the moon. In the 1960s, NASA consumed a much larger portion of the federal budget than it does today. Today’s NASA accounts for less than 1 percent of the total U.S. budget. It would not take a great deal of money for the United States to maintain its position as a leader in space exploration as NASA sets its sights on Mars.

Click here to read the column.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at tcaiazza@americanprogress.org or 202.481.7141.