Panel to Obama: Tell NASA to Skip the Moon and Head to Mars

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An independent commission has advised the White House to have NASA ditch plans to go back to the moon, setting its sights on Mars and beyond instead. I can get behind these suggestions.

The committee outlines eight options. Three of those involve a "flexible path" to explore someplace other than the moon, eventually heading to a Mars landing far in the future. The flexible path suggests no-landing flights around the moon and Mars.

Landing on the moon and then launching back to Earth would require a lot of fuel because of the moon's gravity. Hauling fuel from Earth to the moon and then back costs money.

It would take less fuel to land and return from asteroids or comets that swing by Earth or even the Martian moons, Phobos and Deimos, Augustine said.

Eventually, Augustine said NASA could return to the moon, but as a training stepping stone, not a major destination, as the Bush plan envisioned.

Really, we've been to the moon. It's old news. We're pretty positive there are no aliens there. Any possibility of life in our solar system exists further out, possibly on liquidy moons of the gaseous giants. So why waste time and money on the moon? Let's go to where the real action is. [USA Today via Dvice]