The National Research Council is shooting President Obama's space-high plans back down to earth. In a 300-page report released today, the NRC said NASA's ambitious human spaceflight program has an "unsustainable and unsafe strategy" that will prevent the United States from landing a man on Mars in the near future.
NASA is spending several billion dollars in hopes of getting an astronaut on Mars in the 2030s. But to continue to move toward this goal using the allocated budgets — which doesn't keep pace with inflation — "is to invite failure, disillusionment, and the loss of the longstanding international perception that human spaceflight is something the United States does best," the report said.
The report concluded that it would be more feasible to send an astronaut back to the moon, a plan Obama vehemently opposes.
NASA spokesperson David Weaver didn't seem phased by the NRC's assessment. "NASA has made significant progress on many key elements that will be needed to reach Mars, and we continue on this path in collaboration with industry and other nations," he said.