Chairman Smith Responds to NASA Administrator Bolden about Mars Flyby Mission

Apr 3, 2014

Washington, D.C. – In response to remarks made by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden today before the National Academy of Sciences, Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released the following statement.

Chairman Smith: “In comments before the National Academies, Administrator Bolden today misrepresented a Mars Flyby 2021 mission.  The Administrator indicated that a Mars Flyby is not a worthy stepping stone to an eventual Mars landing because it doesn’t demonstrate technologies. That is factually incorrect. Experts have testified that a Mars Flyby mission would utilize the Space Launch System, architecture that will be central to a Mars landing. He further contended that the Obama administration’s proposed Asteroid Retrieval Mission (ARM) is a better stepping stone to Mars. However, the administration has not provided any details of how it fits into a larger exploration roadmap. The ARM mission lacks support from the stakeholder community and NASA’s own advisory bodies. It is a mission without a realistic budget, without a destination and without a certain launch date. I urge the Administrator to get his facts straight when comparing the value of potential NASA missions.”