NASA has officially revealed its plans to try to get humans living on Mars in the next few decades. The three-part plan aims to have humans living on Mars by the 2030s. That’s a huge leap forward, given that humans have never physically set foot on Mars, relying instead on robots. AI has helped us learn a lot about the planet, including icy water under its crust. NASA hopes this mission will gain insight into our own planet too.
Since 2010, NASA has been testing the effects that living in space has on the human body. To execute their researchers, they sent astronauts to live onboard the International Space Station for long periods of time. They also sent a separate team to live in a “Mars-like” dome near a volcano on Earth for a year—an experiment designed to see if the team can live happily away from everyday human life.
In the next phase of their research, called the ‘Proving Ground’ part of their plan, NASA hopes to conduct experiments in a “deep space” environment that will allow scientists to enter the Moon’s orbit and to return to Earth in a matter of days.
NASA will also team up with the European Space Agency for their Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission in 2020, which will take a large asteroid from near-Earth orbit and relocate it to the Moon’s orbit instead. Astronauts will then explore the asteroid and return to Earth with samples.
This phase also includes testing powerful new technology, like the Space Launch System rocket and Solar Electric Propulsion, which would be used for sending supplies to the team.
Finally, NASA will build a new rover with new gadgets to test out on the Red Planet. Launching in 2020, the new rover will carry MOXIE, a gadget designed to make oxygen.
In the “Earth Independent” phase of NASA’s plan, the space agency hopes to send humans to Mars using all the research and technology they’ve discovered. At the moment, it takes about eight months to travel to Mars, but scientists are hopeful they can reduce this time.
By 2030, NASA hopes to send people to live on Mars for an extended period of time and to look for ways to make fuel, water, oxygen, and building materials native to the planet.
Source: BBC, Daily Mail