By Paul Drewes
HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Hawaii lawmakers once again have their sights set on space.
And some want our islands to be a critical stop on the way to extraterrestial exploration.
Above the lush tropical greenery of our islands, at the top of the state, the summits of Haleakala and Mauna Kea look like other worlds. But it is on this barren and rugged landscape that Hawaii has helped prepare people for trips to other worlds. And a reason why our state should play a role in future missions.
"We have many advantages we can build upon, the moon-like terrain on the Big Island and Maui," said Jim Crisafulli, with the Office of Aerospace Development. "Which simulates the terrain on mars and the moon which NASA can use to test and evaluate astronauts."
Already over a million dollars has been set aside to develop another Hawaii link to outer space exploration through the PISCES program or Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems.
"This would basically create a lunar base on the big island and it could be the launching point for future exploration," said Senator Will Espero, (D) Ewa Beach, Waipahu.
Future exploration will need a boost from new technology to produce life support wherever astronauts go. Everything from ways to develop food, water and oxygen to providing materials for construction and manufacturing have to be researched and tested. And some feel Hawaii is the perfect proving ground.
"It will help test future technologies for future robotic and human missions to moon mars and beyond."