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Making the case for space: ASU professors testify on funding NASA

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Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014

By Stephen Hicks

Stephen Hicks: Getting there is no problem. The problem is getting back.  Two professors from Arizona State University were among a panel of space experts who expressed the need for continued stable funding to space exploration.

ASU was selected to build cameras for the Mars Rover 2020.  It’s a project that Dr. Christensen says has been approved to get to Mars, but without continued funding would not return with core samples.

ASU Professor Philip Christensen: “We have the first piece of the Mars sample return campaign. We have a rover. But we need the second piece and the third piece and we need the technologies to develop those.”

Stephen Hicks: One futuristic project explained to a House subcomittee yesterday is the concept of asteroid mining; a project that has ASU’s Dr. Bell excited about one specific resource.

ASU Professor Jim Bell: “The water inventory and water extraction would be the most compelling.”

Stephen Hicks: Another of the ongoing planetary missions is to explore one of Jupiter’s moons, Europa.

Philip Christensen: “It’s this fascinating little icy body that has an ocean under an icy shell. What’s in that ocean? It’s not fantasy to say that there could be life there.”

Stephen Hicks: Everyone on the panel agreed on the appeal of these programs – but the question is how far into space is Congress willing to go? In Washington, D.C., Stephen Hicks, Cronkite News.