This is odd -- does the Bush administration want to send astronauts back to the moon? A site called SpaceDaily says yes -- and not just the moon, but eventually Mars:
Bush May Announce Return To Moon At Kitty Hawk
A report by Space Lift Washington and published by NASA Watch suggests a major new space policy initiative is under consideration and may be announced by US President George Bush at celebrations planned for the centenary of flight at Kitty Hawk in North Carolina December 17th....
Space Lift's Frank Sietzen quoting Washington sources writes that a central recommendation maybe the "resumption of manned lunar flights to develop advanced technologies that can support U.S. astronauts working beyond Earth orbit to not only the Moon, but eventually to near-Earth asteroids and Mars."
The Space Lift report further added that: "in an early phase of the meetings, manned Mars expeditions were considered too expensive and risky to adopt as a central goal for the civil space program"
However, Bush was said to being "urged to factor in future interplanetary manned flight capabilities as part of the justification for a return to the moon."...
The SpaceDaily article links to this story, which comes from a site that looks fairly responsible. So maybe this is true.
I guess GWB is looking to take on that JFK glow. Or maybe there are contracts in all this for Halliburton.
What? You want to know how we're going to pay for manned missions to the moon and Mars when we already have a gazillion-dollar deficit? Well, not to worry -- it isn't supposed to cost any money at all!
According to Space Lift Washington, President Bush may announce at Kitty Hawk a return to manned lunar exploration but without any specific massive new funding, forcing NASA to get serious about what it wants to do with it considerable human spaceflight assets and decades of experience.
So I guess all NASA has to do is cut waste, fraud, and abuse and we can have a huge new manned space program practically free! And probably more tax cuts!