During the end of the Barack Obama administration, they had an initiative to increase interactions between the White House and the American public via social media channels. Part of this incentive included a new way to send messages via Facebook messenger and then as always, Barack Obama would write back to about 10 people per day. On one of these days, I was just lucky enough to be one of the few people who’s message was screened to be responded to by the 44th POTUS.
I forgot the specifics to the question I asked but it went something along the lines of “When do you think we will land on Mars and what role will the government play with companies like SpaceX to help us get there?”, this is the exact message I received back from Barack Obama:
“Thank you for writing. For more than 50 years, the world has gathered around televisions and gazed at night skies to witness the intrepidity and ingenuity of America’s space program. While pushing the boundaries of humanity’s reach, we have spurred innovation that improves our lives, transforms our economy, and deepens our understanding of our universe.
As the next chapter in human exploration begins, I am committed to strengthening America’s leadership in space. Today, our space program faces new challenges and offers new opportunities. Our goal is no longer to reach a single destination, but to build capacity for people to learn, work, and live safely beyond the Earth for extended periods of time. Through continued investments in research and partnerships with private American companies, we can help ignite a growing commercial space industry, accelerate the pace of innovation, and make getting to space easier and more affordable.
These investments will lay the foundation for achieving the ambitious goals I have set for NASA, and they will lead to further exploration of deep space. By 2025, we expect to begin the first‑ever crewed mission beyond the Moon. By the mid‑2030s, I believe we can send astronauts to orbit Mars and return home safely—and a human landing will follow. And with breakthrough technologies, we will see deeper and probe farther into the solar system than ever before.
Our space program has always captured an essential part of who we are as Americans. We yearn for new heights, challenge our understanding of what is possible, and embrace our unyielding faith in the promise of the future, even during difficult times. More than 30 years ago, NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft captured the world’s imagination as it blasted off toward unexplored planets, carrying greetings in 55 languages. Today, this ambassador of the human race has entered interstellar space, travelling farther than anyone, or anything, in history.
In that spirit, we must continue reaching beyond our planet and inspiring the next generation to lead humanity into the future. To learn more, visit www.NASA.gov/connect. Thank you, again, for writing.”