WASHINGTON D.C. - At a recent visit to the NASA facilities in Cape Canaveral, Florida, President Bush expressed hope U.S. astronauts would be able to land a man safely on the sun within 10 years.
"One of our earlier Presidents set the goal of landing a man on the moon and that certainly sounded remarkable at the time. I see no reason why we couldn't eventually get a man to walk on the sun without injury," Bush said.
Photo: The sun is really, really hot, scientists say.
John F. Kennedy was just one year in his office when he challenged NASA to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. In the summer of 1969, Neil Armstrong made that journey, setting the stage for future space exploration and dozens of botched missions costing American taxpayers billions of dollars.
President Bush urged NASA engineers and geologists to begin mapping the sun's surface for signs of oil, telling them what an incredible source of energy the sun could be and how America could lead the rest of the world in harnessing this great power. "There's oil in them hills," Bush joked to some polite laughter.
The President argued the journey should also include important research that might shed light on why the sun becomes hotter during the summertime and why it continually circles our planet.
"The only way to unlock the sun's mysteries is to have our astronauts do a lunar landing on its surface," said Bush. "Then, they can collect all of the astrological information we need. With this information we might one day find a way to cool off the sun and put an end to global warming."
The President hopes that NASA will be able to successfully complete the mission during his administration, but acknowledges he is also setting the stage for future Presidents in case they can't build "a super fire-proof spacesuit" by the end of his term.
"I envision a day, where we will no longer risk blindness by staring into the sun," Bush said. "Where, during a particularly hot summer, we might be able to turn a knob like on the thermostat which would draw a gigantic shade and give us all temporary relief. I realize this sounds like science fiction, but that's what we said when we first started watching Star Trek."