CNN: Getting to Mars will require continued cooperation between government and private innovators, and we're already well on our way. By Barack Obama
'Within the next two years, private companies will for the first time send astronauts to the International Space Station.
'The next step is to reach beyond the bounds of Earth's orbit. I'm excited to announce that we are working with our commercial partners to build new habitats that can sustain and transport astronauts on long-duration missions in deep space. These missions will teach us how humans can live far from Earth -- something we'll need for the long journey to Mars.
'The reporter who covered the moon landing for The New York Times, John Noble Wilford, later wrote that Mars tugs at our imagination with a force mightier than gravity. Getting there will take a giant leap. But the first, small steps happen when our students -- the Mars generation -- walk into their classrooms each day. Scientific discovery doesn't happen with the flip of a switch; it takes years of testing, patience and a national commitment to education.'