In two days of frank discussions behind closed doors, a group of 50 engineers, former astronauts, scientists and former NASA executives concluded that the United States should explore Mars, but needs to rethink how and when to get there.
The main problem of realization the plan is financial.
Bush's proposed NASA budget for next year is $17.6 billion, including $4 billion for the Constellation Project, the return trip to the moon envisioned by the president by 2020. It will probably take a little more time, considering lack of money.
Besides, the route of getting to Mars, charted by Bush and his advisers four years ago, should be reconsidered. That plan envisioned setting up a permanent base station on the moon, possibly using resources there to produce fuel for rockets destined for Mars and beyond.
They hope that a new president will help to solve the main problems.