Charles F. Bolden, Jr. was appointed NASA Administrator in 2009. He is a retired US Marine Corps major general, former test pilot and a former NASA astronaut.
CHARLES BOLDEN, JR.: By the early ‘30s or mid ‘30s, we hope to have “boots on Mars,” as I would say as a Marine. But that’s a long way off.
And the critical thing, I think for all of you to keep in mind is, it’s too far off for the American public to absorb. We don’t do well with long-range plans. And so, what NASA intends to do, what our team intends to do is, given the President’s guidance and his financial support in his proposed budget for 2011, is to begin flying what we call robotic precursors, to begin flying flagship demonstration missions. And these are all missions that, some crewed, some not, that every year or two, will go and do something that is a building block on the way to Mars.
So, I probably talk too much.
EDWARD CRAWLEY: That’s all right.
CHARLES BOLDEN, JR.: But it is an incremental vision. It’s not simplistic. I wish I could tell you that, in 2035, I’m going to put a human on Mars. I can't, because there is technology, as Ed said, we don’t have. There are threats to the human specie that we can't overcome right now-- radiation being the primary one. And we just need time to try to incrementally walk our way there.
JOHN F. KENNEDY PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUMColumbia Point, Boston MA 02125 (617) 514-1600