NASA is planning to send people on Mars by 2030s. In a report titled “NASA’s Journey to Mars: Pioneering Next Steps in Space Exploration,” the space agency gave a three-phase operation which will make it possible to send people to the Red Planet in the next few decades.
“We are on a journey to Mars,” the report says. “In the next few decades, NASA will take steps toward establishing a sustainable human presence beyond Earth, not just to visit but to stay.”
According to Smithsonian, the first of these phases is the “Earth Reliant” stage, wherein new technologies to test the possibility of a deep space mission are being developed and strategized. This phase is already underway.
As factors like the extended radiation exposure and weightlessness can strain the human body in space, astronauts are allowed to spend a limited amount of time at the space station. According to International Business Times, how the space agency tackles this consideration will be of particular interest. NASA is also devising methods to communicate with vessels on missions to deep space.
As part of the second phase – called “Proving Ground” – the space agency intends to perform certain operations in the cislunar space, or the area around the moon, NBC News reports. One of these tasks will be the Asteroid Redirect Mission – which will involve transporting a solar electric robotic probe to an asteroid, collecting a chunk from its surface and sending that to cislunar orbit.
The third and final phase of the operation, “Earth Independent,” will be to send astronauts on Mars. This will be followed by landing human beings on Mars and being able to bring them back to earth.
A lot of work has to be carried out before man can land on the Red Planet. “With humans on Mars, we will be able to advance science and technology in ways only dreamed of with current robotic explorers,” NASA’s report says.
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