The following is a statement from NASA regarding the National Research Council report, “Pathways to Exploration – Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration” --
“NASA welcomes the release of this report. After a preliminary review, we are pleased to find the NRC’s assessment and identification of compelling themes for human exploration are consistent with the bipartisan plan agreed to by Congress and the Administration in the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 and that we have been implementing ever since.
“There is a consensus that our horizon goal should be a human mission to Mars and the stepping stone and pathways thrust of the NRC report complements NASA’s ongoing approach. The key elements of that approach include the facilitation of commercial access to low-Earth orbit to sustain fundamental human health research and technology demonstrations aboard the International Space Station (ISS); the development and evolution of the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft to enable human exploration missions in cis-lunar and deep space, including to an asteroid; and the development of game-changing technologies for tomorrow’s missions, all leading the way on a path to Mars.
“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. We intend to thoroughly review the report and all of its recommendations.”