1 October 2004: Bush and Kerry Offer Their Views on Science, [subscription] Science
SPACE POLICY - Science: Can we afford to send astronauts back to the moon and on to Mars? Should that be the cornerstone of U.S. space policy? If so, what parts of the current program should be scaled back or eliminated to make room for it?
KERRY: Today, thanks to decades of public investment in space exploration activities, a rotating international team of astronauts is living and working in space on the International Space Station, a dozen Americans have walked on the Moon, we have rovers exploring the surface of Mars, and an armada of spacecraft continues to explore our solar system. NASA is an invaluable asset to the American people and must receive adequate resources to continue its important mission of exploration.
However, there is little to be gained from a space initiative that throws out lofty goals but fails to support those goals with realistic funding. I am committed to increasing funding for NASA and space exploration, because it not only makes critical contributions to our economy, but also expands our understanding of the world we live in.
BUSH: My administration firmly believes that the benefits of space technology are far-reaching and affect the lives of every American. Space exploration has yielded advances in communications, weather forecasting, medicine, electronics, and countless other fields. For example, image-processing technologies used in life-saving computed tomography (CAT) scanners and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) trace their origins to technologies engineers use in space.
In January of this year, we committed the United States to a long-term human and robotic program to explore the solar system, starting with a return to the Moon, to ultimately enable future exploration of Mars and other destinations. It will be affordable and sustainable, while maintaining the highest levels of safety. Return missions to the Moon will give astronauts the opportunity to develop new technology and to harness the Moon's resources to allow manned exploration of more challenging environments. Furthermore, an extended human presence on the Moon could reduce the costs of further exploration, since lunar-based spacecraft could escape the Moon's lower gravity using less energy at less cost than Earth-based vehicles.
The program commits the nation to a fiscally responsible long-term program to explore space through the use of robotic missions and human exploration. This new vision is a measured one that will be executed on the basis of available resources, accumulated experience, and technology readiness.