What's next for the manned space program?

President Obama effectively canceled NASA's manned space program. So what's the next step for bringing man back to the moon?

In February, President Barack Obama effectively canceled NASA's manned space program, shifting development and operation to the private sector.

So what's the next step for bringing man back to the moon?

The American Natural History Museum plans to assemble a panel of experts to find out. In this year's Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate, experts will discuss whether NASA should return to the Moon or if it should proceed straight to Mars -- along with the science, hardware, policy, security and fiscal issues associated with such a decision.

The panel includes:

  • Kenneth Ford, founder and CEO of the Institute for Human & Machine Cognition
  • Lester Lyles of the United States Air Force (Ret)
  • Paul Spudis of the Lunar and Planetary Institute
  • Steven Squyres of Cornell University
  • Robert Zubrin of the Mars Society

The sold-out debate takes place on March 15, moderated by Hayden Planetarium director Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Here's a preview:

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com