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FILE - The base of Mars' Mount Sharp is pictured in this August 27, 2012 NASA handout photo taken by the Curiosity rover. VOA

October 11, 2016: President Barack Obama says with the help of private companies, the United States will send humans to Mars by the 2030s.

In an op-ed published on CNN.com, Obama wrote, “We have set a clear goal vital to the next chapter of America’s story in space: sending humans to Mars by the 2030s and returning them safely to Earth, with the ultimate ambition to one day remains there for an extended time.”


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Obama said an effective public-private partnership that is essential to transporting humans to Mars is already under way. U.S. companies, he said, already own more than one-third of the global commercial launch market. And within two years, Obama said, private companies will send astronauts to the International Space Station for the first time.


FILE – In this frame grab taken from NASA Television, a SpaceX Dragon capsule separates from a robotic arm of the International Space Station en route back to Earth with a load of science experiments and gear from the space station, Aug. 26, 2016. VOA

Obama said the U.S. government is already working with commercial partners to construct new habitats that can accommodate humans on extended space missions.

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“These missions will teach us how humans can live far from Earth — something we’ll need for the long journey to Mars,” Obama wrote.


FILE – SpaceX founder Elon Musk tells the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, that he envisions 1,000 passenger ships flying en masse to Mars and says it could become reality within a century, Sept. 27, 2016. VOA

Obama cautioned it will take years to prepare for a trip to Mars, including educating the next generation of workers who would help make the trip a reality.

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“For the first time, more than 100,000 engineers are graduating from American schools every year, and we’re on track to accomplish my goal of training 100,000 excellent new STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) teachers in a decade.”


FILE – This color image taken August 8, 2012 from NASA’s Curiosity rover, and released August 13, shows part of the wall of Gale Crater, the location on Mars where the rover landed on August 5, 2012. VOA

The president said stronger leadership of the space program will lead to new scientific advances and provide a better understanding of the human race and Earth’s environment.

When humans have gone to Mars to stay, Obama said the advances that got them there will “make our lives better here on Earth.” (VOA)


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The aim of the book is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

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Delhi-based author Pritisha Borthakur is set to release her new book, 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories'. The 1,404-word children's book was put together to address a new kind of societal debacle in the family system. The author says the aim is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

The author who named the book after her twin sons -- Puhor and Niyor -- is a parent who has seen and heard the tales of ridicule and discrimination suffered by many in India and beyond. She says the book is an artistic illustration for kids that details how different families can live and coexist. Whether it's children with two dads or two moms, children with a single dad or single mom, and even multiracial family units, Borthakur's book teaches love, understanding, and compassion towards unconventional families.

Beyond race, gender, color, and ethnicity which have formed the bases for discrimination since the beginning of time, this book aims to bring to light a largely ignored issue. For so long, single parents have been treated like a taboo without any attempt to understand their situations; no one really cares how or why one's marriage ended but just wants to treat single parents as villains simply for choosing happiness and loving their children.

Homosexual parents, a relatively new family system, is another form that has suffered hate and discrimination for many years. Pritisha emphasizes the need to understand that diversity in people and family is what makes the world beautiful and colourful. 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race, and even differences in background

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