"Today," Griffin writes, "NASA is moving forward with a new focus for the manned space program: to go out beyond Earth for purposes of human exploration and scientific discovery. The International Space Station is now a stepping stone on the way to new exploration.".
The Vision for Space Exploration was announced nearly three years ago by President Bush. The plan commits the United States to using the shuttle to complete the space station. After retiring the shuttle, the US will build a new generation of spacecraft to venture out into the solar system. Congress has ratified that position with an overwhelming bipartisan majority, making the Vision for Space Exploration the law of the land..
When we start making manned trips to Mars, the Space Station will be the intermediate stop-over, just like we have main airport-hubs for airline travel on Earth. On the space station, we will learn how to live and work in space. We will learn how to build hardware and machines that can survive and function for the years required to make the round-trip voyage from Earth to Mars. We will also do experiments and training for working in space and on alien planets..
If humans are indeed going to go to Mars, we have to learn how to live on other planetary surfaces, to use what we find there and bend it to our will. This is what the Pilgrims did when they came to the New World, to New England. Half of them died during that first frigid winter in 1620. There was a reason their celebration was called "Thanksgiving." The survivors were thankful to be alive in an alien land. The landscape and the climate were totally different than their homeland. The landscape and climate on Mars are much more alien; we have a lot to learn how to survive..
Other countries will explore the cosmos, whether the United States does or not. And those will be Earth's great nations in the years and centuries to come. Many nations, including Japan, Russia, France, and the US are working together on the Space Station. The International Space Station, the most complex construction feat ever undertaken, will teach us how to live and work in space. Together Earthmen may explore many planets in our Solar System.Thank you NASA for this info - go to NASA enter search for "Why Explore Space?"