In regard to the asteroid retrieval plan, Kraft continues: "Congress is already saying what NASA is doing is wrong. They're saying they don't like the asteroid mission. Most in Congress want to see NASA go back to the moon." The scientific reasons for a return to the moon far outweigh the science that can be done on a captured asteroid and, as pointed out by Kraft, the lunar surface is a resource that can be utilized for practical purposes, such as building a vast solar array.
ANALYSIS: Interstellar Travel Is Hard, Why Bother?
As for the continuously deferred plan to send humans to Mars, Kraft is not a fan. "Pretty much everything we need to do on Mars can be done robotically," he said. "We've already got robots there. By the time we get the capability to send humans to Mars, it might be that robots are smarter than humans anyway. I'm serious."
Kraft headed NASA at a time when the agency was tasked with doing bold, and seemingly impossible, things in space. Apart from a brief foray on the moon's surface, NASA hasn't sent an astronaut beyond Earth orbit. NASA's manned space program is being strangled by budget cuts, has a swelling infrastructure and politics keep setting unrealistic goals for all the wrong reasons. What would revitalize NASA and give humanity a real boost in space?