The partisan divide between Democrat and Republican lawmakers has extended from
While both sides of the political aisle want
In addition to providing a path to Mars, the ARM program would only cost
"ARM achieves deep space operations experience much sooner, and at much lower cost than lunar exploration," explained
"First, ARM would extend human space flight to a lunar distant retrograde orbit. Sorties into true interplanetary space to a near-Earth asteroid would follow, preparing for journeys to the Mars system (perhaps landing on Phobos or Deimos.) The Martian surface -- the goal -- would then be clearly visible, and clearly achievable."
House Republicans, however, want
Proponents of a moon base say it would allow
"I frankly don't think anyone would be pushing asteroid redirect if the U.S. embraced a return to the moon,"
"The rest of the world is focused on going to the moon. We're the only country that's out of sync with that."
House Republicans are so enamored with the idea of a moon base, they say they won't expand funding for Mars exploration until it scraps the ARM plan, a claim Friedman warns is a red herring.
"I don't think there's an iota of indication [that funding would be raised with a renewed moon focus]. There are people who will talk about that idea," Friedman said.
"The idea of actually appropriating extra money, we haven't seen anything like that."
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