The president has set a goal of sending astronauts into orbit above the Red Planet by the mid-2030s.
- President Obama spoke at the Kennedy Space Center to discuss the future of the space program.
- Obama outlined his plan to launch astronauts into orbit above Mars by the mid-2030s.
- Prior to that mission, the president intends to send astronauts to an asteroid.
President Barack Obama said Thursday he is aiming to send astronauts into Mars orbit in the mid-2030s as he sought to quell protests over his earlier space policies.
"By 2025 we expect new spacecraft designed for long journeys to allow us to begin the first ever crew missions beyond the moon into deep space," Obama told an audience at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
"So, we'll start by sending astronauts to an asteroid for the first time in history," he added. "By the mid-2030s, I believe we can send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to earth, and a landing on Mars will follow."
Obama, who was accompanied on his trip by astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to set foot on the moon, vowed he was "100 percent committed" to NASA's mission as he sought to set a new course for future space travel.