There's a big debate brewing right now about the path NASA should take in the coming years. Former President George W Bush tasked NASA with a return to the Moon prior to a Mars mission, but it seems new President Obama is not so keen, and we're not really sure yet what this bodes for Mars, though as previously noted in this blog, we've got a Mars focused NASA administrator and now Dr. Charles Elachi, director of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has chimed in with his predictions. Speaking at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference, he was very upbeat for the prospects for manned exploration of the solar system, predicting a presence on Mars by 2019! That seems a tad optimistic to me, but it's good to see more senior people in the American space program pushing for this kind of commitment. Elachi also brought with him a super cool full scale model of the 2011 Mars rover named Curiosity.