George W. Bush’s dream of Americans on Mars got a little bit closer to reality Wednesday as NASA successfully launched its prototype Ares I-X rocket. A version of the new rocket is planned to launch Orion, NASA’s replacement craft for the aging space shuttle, as America’s preferred method of getting off-planet.

Back in 2004, in what might have been a desperate move, then-President Bush refocused NASA on manned space flight and a return trip to the moon on the way to Mars. Ares, another name for Mars as well as NASA’s spiffy new rocket, is also, coincidentally, the god of war. — PZS


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