Comments about NASA and Space Policy by White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, 7 January 2004

Press Release From: White House
Posted: Wednesday, January 7, 2004

Q Could you tell us specifically of any benefit at all from the U.S. taxpayers $820 million for the latest trip to Mars other than clear pictures of an arid landscape, which The Washington Post op-ed page this morning called, mission to nowhere?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, let me tell you right now. I would reiterate that the President is a strong supporter of the exploration of space. And there are many benefits that we have realized from exploring space. And so the President -- and I think that yesterday --

Q What benefits?

MR. McCLELLAN: And NASA can outline a lot of them where you're learning more about issues such as climate change, where you're learning more -- we learn more about the universe itself, and that helps improve our knowledge in many different areas. And one of the primary missions of the Rover Spirit, and the Rover Opportunity which will be joining it in short order, is to look at whether or not there was the possibility for any life on Mars long ago. And so that's one of the important missions that it will fulfill. And there's many benefits that come from space when we explore space. We've already realized many of those benefits from previous missions.

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