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Ex-astronauts criticize axing NASA moon program

LONDON - Two former astronauts have said they are disappointed with the U.S. government's decision to cancel NASA's moon landing program.

Jim Lovell, who led the Apollo 13 mission in 1970, told the BBC the cancellation could be disastrous.

"Personally, I think it will have catastrophic consequences in our ability to explore space and the spin-offs we get from space technology," Lovell said. "They haven't thought through the consequences."

Eugene Cernan, part of the 1972 Apollo 17 mission, said the United States has a responsibility to lead the world in space exploration and technology and that he hopes people will be back on the moon "sooner than later." "I'm quite disappointed that I'm still the last man on the moon. I thought we'd have gone back long before now," Cernan said.

"But I am absolutely committed to the fact that we will go back at some time."

The decision to cancel NASA's $100-billion Constellation program was announced last month. Much of the money is earmarked for rocket research.

- AP

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