Some Congressional Republicans are pushing a new plan to assign NASA with a new mission to build manned bases both on the Moon and Mars. Recently-retired astronaut and Iowa State University graduate Clayton Anderson says investing in the American space program brings wide-ranging rewards to all of us.

“Everything we do at NASA has a targeted goal in mind,” Anderson says. “For example, going to the moon or going to Mars or building the International Space Station, but that’s not only what it is. Everything we learn along the way provides technology leaps and enhancements that benefit people back on Earth.”

A multitude of medical advances, microwave ovens, cell phones and even TV remote controls all have roots in the space program. Anderson, a native of Ashland, Nebraska, spoke over the weekend in Omaha/Council Bluffs.