In a meeting centered on the future of space exploration and research, NASA met with the congressional House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology today in Washington.

Among the many items discussed, both congressmen and representatives of NASA brought up the future of space travel, particularly in the context of a manned mission to Mars.

Former NASA administrator Mike Griffin suggested (via Gizmodo) a gradual build toward space exploration and travel, suggesting the Moon as an ideal testing ground and telling the committee “If God wanted us to go to Mars, he’d have given us a Moon to practice on first.”

Griffin laid out a hypothetical in which astronauts would first spend some time on the space station before living on the surface of the moon for six months, thus providing astronauts and researchers with more information on how to better equip future researchers and travelers wanting to visit the surface of Mars.

Astronaut Eileen Collins built on the idea, suggesting privatization of space travel to the station could create opportunities for the layperson while also providing NASA with the ability to venture even beyond Mars.

"There are plenty of tourists and people that have money that would love to go up in space and live on the station," she said. “If we could find a private company that would take over the station and sell it like a hotel, we may be able wean ourselves off of the space station and get into deep space.”

Hopefully any future moon travel will take place after we figure out what that weird noise was astronauts reportedly heard while in orbit.



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