Space programs extend over long periods of time and require considerable financial investment. Thus the programs to be funded must be designed and evaluated for a probability of success. This issue paper describes a methodology for determining which programs have the best chance of success. The authors illustrate the approach using the Moon/Mars exploration program for which it was developed. The steps include defining national policy goals (e.g., enhancing national security, increasing scientific knowledge, and strengthening the economy), identifying paths the program might take (e.g., early establishment of a Mars outpost, use of current technology only, involvement of the private sector to establish a lunar base), and evaluating how well the paths accomplish the goals.
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