ARLINGTON Va. — Vice President Dan Quayle told a meeting of astronomers today that the nation's space program in the future will emphasize unmanned science experiments and work toward establishing astronomical observatories on the moon.
In a speech to the American Astronomical Society, the vice president emphasized that unmanned science probes would be a major element of the Bush Administration's space effort.
"We are committed to a balanced scientific program," Quayle said in a comment that drew applause. "The large exploration programs we are planning will not emphasize human activities at the expense of scientific excellence."
He reaffirmed the Administration's plans to establish a permanent base on the moon and later to mount a manned expedition to Mars.
"At some point we hope to establish lunar astronomical observatories to build on the foundations" of earlier unmanned scientific satellites, he said.
Quayle, head of the National Space Council, said the exploration of Mars "will begin with an expanded series of unmanned scientific probes, perhaps including a return of Mars surface samples."