WASHINGTON, D.C.— The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold a hearing on “The Path From LEO to Mars.” This hearing will examine NASA's exploration portfolio — both robotic and human — beyond low-Earth orbit (LEO) to the surface of Mars.
The hearing will begin with an update from project scientists working on the Mars Science Laboratory mission (Opening Remarks).
Please note the hearing will be webcast live via the Senate Commerce Committee website. Refresh the Commerce Committee homepage 10 minutes prior to the scheduled start time to automatically begin streaming the webcast.
Individuals with disabilities who require an auxiliary aid or service, including closed captioning service for webcast hearings, should contact Collenne Wider at 202-224-5511 at least three business days in advance of the hearing date.
Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IVChairmanU.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
WASHINGTON, D.C.—50 years ago today, President Kennedy gave a now famous speech at Rice University highlighting his challenge for our nation to go to the Moon and back. Within that turbulent decade, Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon’s surface, in the Sea of Tranquility. We honor the legacy of President Kennedy, Armstrong, and all those who worked to achieve the triumph of the Moon landing as we continue to pursue the frontiers of science and technology. President Kennedy’s challenge was motivated by the need for the United States to be the world leader in science and technology. Although the global environment has changed much since the Cold War, the need for our country to remain a leader in science and technology has never been greater.
There are many ways to explore – whether it is by probing the depths of the oceans, peering into the eternity of the cosmos, or unraveling the marvels of the human body – exploration pushes the boundaries of human understanding and knowledge.
Today we are here to talk about the exploration of space. As President Kennedy said of space, “Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind.” Whether we explore with humans or robots, we face challenges that push us to the limits of our science, engineering, and ingenuity.
We saw that ingenuity proven when we landed a rover the size of a small car on the surface of Mars just over a month ago. The Curiosity rover touched down on the Red Planet after a so-called “seven minutes of terror” culminating in a graceful lowering to the surface by a “sky crane.” This spectacle was watched by at least 4.7 million people around the world, inspiring numbers of students in their science and math studies so that they will go on to lead our next incredible journeys of exploration.
There are many ways to explore space – and we have a variety of destinations between the Earth and Mars to consider. What is most important is that we continue exploring, continue probing the frontiers of science and technology, and continue inspiring and educating our next generation.
Dr. John GrunsfeldAssociate AdministratorScience Mission Directorate, NASA
Dr. Fuk LiDirectorMars Exploration Directorate, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Dr. John GrotzingerMars Science Laboratory Project ScientistCalifornia Institute of Technology
Witness Panel 1
Dr. Steven W. SquyresGoldwin Smith Professor of AstronomyCornell University
Dr. Charles F. KennelChair, Space Studies Board, The National AcademiesDistinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science (Emeritus), Senior Advisor, Sustainability Solutions Institute, University of California San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Mr. Jim MaserPresidentPratt & Whitney Rocketdyne