moon_landingPresident Bush is set to announce that he will challenge NASA — in Kennedy-esque fashion — to develop a permanent manned outpost on the Moon and land human beings on Mars within a decade.

Conservatives are lauding this. Says Adam Keiper in the National Review Online, “the president is going to give NASA what it needs most: a vision worthy of America.” Whether or not they are genuine, these sentiments may reflect an emerging consensus that America’s space efforts need to be focused less on hauling stuff into orbit (read, “Space Shuttle”) and more on exploring new worlds (read, “Mission to Mars”). Captain Kirk can’t be that far behind after all.

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