Bring­ing hu­mans to Mars and hu­man­ity to­gether

Jerusalem Post - - COMMENT & FEATURES - • By CHARLES BOLDEN

NASA’s Jour­ney to Mars is about more than send­ing Amer­i­can as­tro­nauts to the Red Planet in the 2030s; it’s about bring­ing peo­ple to­gether here on Earth. It’s about strength­en­ing the Amer­i­can econ­omy and with it the eco­nomic se­cu­rity of fam­i­lies through­out our coun­try. It’s also about strength­en­ing our friend­ships across sec­tors and also across na­tional borders. This is why I’m fond of re­mind­ing vir­tu­ally ev­ery au­di­ence to whom I speak that send­ing hu­mans to Mars re­quires all hands on deck – gov­ern­ment, in­dus­try, aca­demic and international part­ners and cit­i­zen sci­en­tists – we need ev­ery­body.

To­day, I’m em­bark­ing on a jour­ney of my own – to meet with our global friends in international space agen­cies, gov­ern­ments, pri­vate com­pa­nies, uni­ver­si­ties and other fo­rums; folks who are ea­ger to be part of NASA’s Jour­ney to Mars. I plan to carry with me a mes­sage of part­ner­ship as I re­mind them of how much the Amer­i­can peo­ple value their friend­ship, es­pe­cially when it comes to space – which in many ways is the great global con­nec­tor.

It should not be lost on any of us that for the past decade and a half, hu­man be­ings from mul­ti­ple coun­tries have been liv­ing and work­ing to­gether on the International Space Sta­tion (ISS) in com­mon pur­suit of hu­man progress. It cer­tainly is not lost on me, that a girl or boy age 15 or younger has lived ev­ery sin­gle sec­ond of ev­ery day of her or his life while hu­man be­ings have been liv­ing and work­ing to­gether in space. Our grand­chil­dren’s chil­dren may very well live ev­ery day of their own lives while hu­man be­ings are liv­ing and work­ing to­gether on Mars.

For this rea­son, I’m a firm believer in the soft power that our coun­try is able to demon­strate when we en­gage in space diplo­macy. From our per­spec­tive at NASA, one of the most grat­i­fy­ing de­vel­op­ments over the past few years has been the in­creas­ing num­ber of na­tions who have joined the global ex­plo­ration en­deavor. Na­tions large and small, both with and with­out for­mal space agen­cies, have all come to the con­clu­sion that ev­ery­one who has a pas­sion for space can find a role and a place where their ex­per­tise is crit­i­cal. In short, ev­ery sin­gle na­tion can play a part in our jour­ney to Mars, in our sci­en­tific jour­ney of dis­cov­ery and in the next phase of hu­man­ity’s devel­op­ment as a space­far­ing peo­ple.

Over the course of this trip, I will have the op­por­tu­nity to dis­cuss NASA’s Jour­ney to Mars with the Is­raeli min­is­ter of Science, Tech­nol­ogy and Space, the Is­rael Space Agency (ISA) and Is­raeli in­no­va­tors, stu­dents and en­trepreneurs. I’ll also be meet­ing with stu­dents in both Is­rael and Jor­dan who par­tic­i­pate in the Global Learn­ing and Ob­ser­va­tions to Benefit the En­vi­ron­ment (GLOBE) science and ed­u­ca­tion ini­tia­tive, of which NASA is a proud part­ner. I’ll also be trav­el­ing to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to meet with col­leagues at the UAE Space Agency. I’ll wrap up this trip with a meet­ing with NASA part­ners in the Euro­pean Space Agency (ESA) at the ESA Coun­cil in Paris.

We rec­og­nize that NASA pro­vides in­spi­ra­tion to dream­ers and do­ers of all pro­fes­sions ev­ery­where around the world, so we are look­ing for­ward to part­ner­ing with the US Em­bassy in Amman and His Royal High­ness Crown Prince Al Hus­sein bin Ab­dul­lah II to host a pub­lic di­a­log about NASA’s Jour­ney to Mars while I am in Jor­dan.

Ev­ery­where I travel, I meet peo­ple who are look­ing to the United States for lead­er­ship when it comes to space ex­plo­ration. Time and again I hear en­thu­si­asm about our Jour­ney to Mars and an ap­petite for part­ner­ship in this re­mark­able pur­suit of progress and pos­si­bil­ity.

To­gether, we can bring hu­man­ity to the face of Mars and reach new heights for the benefit of all hu­mankind... and we will.

The au­thor is the head of NASA, and will be re­ceiv­ing an hon­orary doc­tor­ate on June 7 from Bar Ilan Univer­sity, where he will speak about NASA and the jour­ney to Mars. This ar­ti­cle orig­i­nally ap­peared on his blog. https://blogs.nasa.gov/bolden/.

(Reuters)

A SIM­U­LATED 3-D per­spec­tive view of Mars is seen in an un­dated im­age cre­ated from data taken by the THEMIS in­stru­ment on NASA’s Mars Odyssey space­craft.

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