In its place, the President wants to incubate "game changing" technology that would allow astronauts to land on Mars at some unspecified point in the future. More radically, it calls for transferring a large portion of the research and development for new rockets to private businesses, including Boeing and Lockheed Martin, to service space stations in low-earth orbit. Not many members of Congress are happy about the change, especially the small, but devoted space-geek subset of Congress that considers NASA and space exploration its marquee issue. For this group, of which Wu is a charter member, an intense exploration of space brings technological advances and innovation that benefit everything from health care to auto design to helping stabilize Social Security.
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