NPR logo Bush Calls for Manned Base on the Moon

Bush Calls for Manned Base on the Moon

No Price Tag Offered for Ambitious Program

NPR's Richard Harris Reports on the Initiative

Only Available in Archive Formats.

President George Bush listens to a live telecast by International Space Station Commander Michael Foale before announcing his proposals for a new space program during a speech at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., Jan. 14, 2004. Reuters Limited hide caption

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Reuters Limited

Astronaut Eugene Cernan drives the lunar rover during Apollo 17, the last manned mission to the moon in 1972. NASA hide caption

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President Bush announces a major recommitment to the U.S. space program. The president calls for establishing a permanent human settlement on the moon and an eventual manned flight to Mars. An overall price tag for the program wasn't revealed. Critics say the plan is unadvisable at a time of record deficits.

A timeline for the president's space exploration program:

By 2008: NASA will develop and test a new spacecraft, called the Crew Exploration Vehicle, to replace the 30-year-old shuttle program. A series of robotic missions to the moon begins.

By 2010: The United States will have completed most of its work on the International Space Station, but will continue to use the orbiter to study the effects of space on human health. NASA will retire its space shuttle fleet.

By 2014: The first manned mission for the Crew Exploration Vehicle.

By 2015: Astronauts will land on the moon using the Crew Exploration Vehicle.

By 2020: The United States will have established an extended human presence on the moon, using it as a launching pad for other manned exploration missions.