NASA defends lunar mission as first step to Mars

10/1/2008 | MSNBC

With several European space agencies pushing for a quicker manned mission to Mars, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin is warning against overconfidence. At the International Astronautical Congress in Scotland on Tuesday, Griffin said astronauts would need to complete a continuous mission of at least 18 months between the moon and the International Space Station in order to simulate a trip to Mars and back. "I am not saying that we have to have conducted such a mission, but that we have to be confident in our ability to conduct it before we send astronauts to Mars," Griffin said. "Otherwise, the crew we send to Mars will not come back."

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