Future of US space travel uncertain

A White House panel of independent space experts has raised serious doubts about NASA's plan to revisit the Moon, or to send astronauts to Mars.

It says the current annual budget of $18 bn is simply not enough to fund exploration beyond the Earth.

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Five years ago President Bush set out his lofty vision of sending astronauts back to the Moon by the year 2020. It was meant to be the staging post for the next frontier - a manned landing on Mars. Now a panel of space experts says that's pretty much pie in the sky.

Their report, commissioned by President Obama, says the current US human spaceflight programme appears to be on an unsustainable trajectory. It suggests the only way forward is to increase the funding of NASA by billions of dollars, or to co-operate with private companies now embarking on commercial space flights.

The panel says visits to Near-Earth Objects such as asteroids are far more realistic too. The experts also argue for keeping the International Space Station going till 2020, rather than pulling the plug in six years' time.

Jonathan Beale, BBC News, Washington

Sözcükleri dinlemek için tıklayın

set out

sergilemek, düzenlemek, ortaya koymak

lofty vision

iddialı bir plan, hedefler

staging post

mola yeri, durak, burada Mars'a giderken Ay'da mola kastediliyor

next frontier

uzayın keşfedilmeyen yeri

a panel

panel, karar alan bir grup profesyonel ya da uzman insan

pie in the sky

gerçekleşmesi ihtimali düşük olan şey anlamına gelen bir ifade

on an unsustainable trajectory

sürdürülebilirliği olmayan bir plan izlemek

embarking

yeni bir işe koyulmak

asteroids

asteroid

pulling the plug

fişini çekmek, bir şeyin devam etmesini önlemek