It has been 5 years since the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have announced that they will embark on a mission to Mars. But on Wednesday, some members of a subcommittee of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, said that NASA’s mission to Mars should be scrapped or flushed down the drain.
Experts stated during the hearing that NASA should focus its aim on the moon, as it is familiar territory. For roughly two hours of discussion regarding human exploration proposals of NASA, the Space Subcommittee criticized a number of shortcomings in the Mars mission.
Senior scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute Paul Spudis slammed NASA during the discussion. Spudis stated, “America’s civil space program is in disarray, with many aspirations and hopes, but few concrete, realizable plans for future missions or strategic direction.”
Spudis also said that NASA needs to accomplish a lot to pull off the mission to Mars. The National Academy of Sciences’ John Sommerer brought up another problem with NASA’s plan to send individuals to Mars – the mission will result in physical and psychological damage to the chosen astronauts.
According to Fusion, Sommerer stated, “Long duration orbital missions at Mars, or on Mars’ moons, may not be practical at all, for the reason of radiation. And finally, the psycho-social limits on a small group of astronauts confined to extremely tight quarters for multiyear periods, without possibility of real time interaction with family and friends, pose another poorly understood threat to crew safety and mission success.”
According to Arstechnica, Tom Young, a panelist of the hearing and the former director of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and former chief operating officer of the Martin Marietta Corporation, has the same opinion that NASA does not currently have a clear pathway to Mars.
Young said, “What we do not have is a plan, strategy, or architecture with sufficient detail that takes us from today to humans on the surface of Mars.”