by James Hannah / Associated Press –
DAYTON, Ohio (March 4, 2004) — The military plays an important role in US space exploration and should continue to partner with NASA, Air Force generals said Thursday.
The generals spoke on the second day of hearings before a commission studying President Bush’s proposal for manned flights to the moon and Mars.
The generals defended the military’s role in space exploration when commissioner Carleton Fiorina asked why the military is involved.
Taking Warfare to the ‘Higher Ground’
“Although we would like space to be a peaceful medium, the fact of the matter is history says that it may not always be that way,” said Gen. Gregory Martin, commander of the Air Force Materiel Command. “We should be prepared for that.”
Martin said the military conducts space-related research projects and military equipment in space helps prevent conflicts on Earth. For example, military satellites detect buildups of armies on the ground, he said.
Lt. Gen. Dan Leaf of the Air Force Space Command said that excluding the military from space efforts would decrease the chances of heading off conflicts on Earth and make a US response to an attack on America less precise and more destructive.
DOD Wants to ‘Wage Peace’ in Space
“That’s in nobody’s interest — not ours, not our adversaries,” Leaf said. “We don’t want to wage war in space. There is a peaceful place for the military to participate in space.”
On Wednesday, aerospace educators said manned flights to the moon and Mars would ignite a passion for space and science studies among young people.
The Dayton hearing at the US Air Force Museum is the second of five being held around the country as the President’s Commission on Moon, Mars and Beyond prepares a report to be presented to Bush in June.
For information on the Moon-Mars Commission, go to:
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