“It’s taking the money out of NASA programs that should be the ones we’re funding through the federal government,” he said.

“The commercial systems are going to get us to low-Earth orbit, and we want to go beyond low-Earth orbit. We want to go out to the moon. We want to go on to Mars, and we’re diverting most of our resources, or a large portion of our resources, to just going back into low-Earth orbit. And that’s the wrong answer.”

Collins, who in the 1990s became the first female space pilot and mission commander, thinks the current plan is a good one — as long as human expeditions beyond Earth orbit are not forsaken.

“Am I happy with where we are right now? No, because I’m not a very patient person. I like to see things happen faster. So with the cancellation of Constellation, it really slowed us down,” Collins said.

“But there’s a program now, and I’m just praying that it doesn’t get canceled — that it’s successful, and that it’s safe. And that we actually make it happen,” Collins said.

So, should we venture back to the moon? Or journey to an asteroid? Or go straight to Mars?

It doesn’t matter.

“I think we should pick a destination and stop changing it,” Collins said. “You know, I think these are all good ideas. But at some point, we’ve just got to go do it.”