WASHINGTON—A former astronaut's plea that NASA make human exploration of Mars "a primary goal" of the nation's space program has raised concern that such a program would restrict other space science research.

Michael Collins, chairman of the Council's Task Force on Space Program Goals, urged the NASA Advisory Council March 3 to undertake a multinational program of Mars exploration as a tonic for post-Challenger malaise.

"We need to restore some health to the invalid," Collins said of the agency. The multinational Mars effort should include the Soviet Union, he said, but the United States also should be able to do the program alone if necessary. Collins, part of the Apollo 11 lunar landing crew, gave no deadline for the mission, but said that "now is the time to get on with it."

Listening to the presentation, Louis Lanzerotti, chairman of NASA's Space and Earth Science Advisory Committee, warned that "science...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!