April 15th, 2010
03:24 PM ET

With fat days over, NASA must innovate

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/04/15/obama.space/t1larg.jpg caption="The U.S. shuttle program is ending this year. The U.S. will have to catch a ride with Russia's Soyuz after that." width=300 height=169]

Michio Kaku
Special to CNN

In a long-awaited speech Thursday in Florida, President Obama will boldly go where no president has gone before, laying out an entirely new vision for the U.S. space program. The firestorm of controversy has already begun

For more than 50 years, presidents have pushed for government rockets to send astronauts to space, the moon and possibly Mars.

But now a new paradigm is being proposed. The moon program is off the table, and Mars is only a distant possibility. NASA is essentially getting out of the astronaut business, letting the Russians and private enterprise take over. The glory days of NASA, some say, are over.

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Filed under: President Barack Obama • Russia • Space
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