This week’s issue of the journal Nature features a special report on the science policies of President Bush and Senator Kerry. One of the 15 questions asked of the two Presidential candidates was the following:
Do you think the United States should send astronauts to the Moon or Mars in the next 10 to 15 years? If so, why send humans instead of robots? If not, what is the purpose of the space shuttle and space station?
The answers (which may be easier to read in this PDF file or in an HTML version provided by Discovery.com) don’t break any new ground. Bush’s response looks like it was primarily taken directly from his January 14th speech. (The BBC interprets his response to mean that Bush has “back-pedalled from his ‘man on Mars’ ambition”, but that would seem to be an erroneous conclusion: Bush publicly voiced little “man on Mars” ambition in his original address or other statements.) Kerry reiterated his support for the ISS but his opposition to the Bush plan because it doesn’t contain what he believes is sufficient funding for carrying it out. He added that “John Edwards and I are committed to increasing funding for NASA and space exploration”, but doesn’t specify how it would be spent.