The US is partnering with private firms with the ultimate goal of sending humans to Mars by the 2030s, President Barack Obama said in a CNN op-ed on Tuesday.
In outlining his vision for the country's space program, Obama announced that the government had tied-up with private firms to support astronauts' missions into deep space in order to learn "how humans can live far from Earth."
"I'm excited to announce that we are working with our commercial partners to build new habitats that can sustain and transport astronauts on long-duration missions in deep space," Obama said in the op-ed. "These missions will teach us how humans can live far from Earth — something we'll need for the long journey to Mars."
"We have set a clear goal vital to the next chapter of America's story in space: sending humans to Mars by the 2030s and returning them safely to Earth, with the ultimate ambition to one day remain there for an extended time," Obama said.
"One of my earliest memories is sitting on my grandfather's shoulders, waving a flag as our astronauts returned to Hawaii," Obama said, describing his "sense of wonder" at America's space program.