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O'Keefe's vision: technology, not destinations
Posted: Wed, Mar 27, 2002, 7:15 AM ET (1215 GMT)
Sean O'Keefe (White House) NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe said Tuesday that he believes that the space agency should focus on solving key technological problems related to space exploration rather than devote its energies towards a specific destination, like Mars. Speaking at a Women in Aerospace breakfast, O'Keefe said the two largest problems NASA has to deal with are power and propulsion in deep space and the intense radiation environment for humans. O'Keefe said that nuclear power is the "most mature" solution to the power and propulsion issue. While calling Mars a "very intriguing" future destination for NASA, he added that there are "a range of destinations that become possible once we beat these problems." O'Keefe also hinted that there may be a slim opening for future US-China cooperation in space, saying that he has had discussions with Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage on "the art of the possible" for future partnering agreements.
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