Sunday, September 04, 2011

Armstrong Urges Return to the Moon, then Mars

He has previously criticized US President Barack Obama for being "poorly advised" on space matters and said it was "well known to all that the American space program is in some chaos at the present time, some disarray".

"There are multiple opinions on which goals should be the most important and the most pressing," he told a function in Sydney late Wednesday.

The US shuttle program came to an end last month with Atlantis cruising home for a final time, 42 years after Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission.

Critics have assailed NASA for lacking focus, with no next-generation human space flight mission to replace the shuttle program.

Now 81, Armstrong said the agency had become a "shuttlecock" for the "war of words" between the executive, legislative and congressional arms of US government.

"It's my belief given time and careful thought and reasoning we will eventually reach the right goal, I just hope we do it fairly quickly," he said.

The normally private and reserved space veteran said Mars should be the next frontier for exploration but urged more missions to the moon as the vital next step.

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