Before proceeding with the mission to the Red Planet, NASA has come up with a newly designed plan to land humans back on the moon. Following that, will the mission to Mars will be planned accordingly.
According to plans, Robots will be able to reach the moon, and land on it, by next year, NASA announced Monday. The program came after the signing of a directive by President Donald Trump in December, to continue exploration on the moon and plan human-led travel to Mars by 2030. The lunar mission involves examining the surface of the moon to determine whether the environment is suited for human exploration or not. They plan to drill the surface in search of water, compounds and other volatiles from craters and the poles using heat.
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine claims that the ice on Mars could be utilized as fuel if their efforts are successful. Adding to that, he said, “We know there is volatility at the poles on the moon, and quite frankly, that water ice could represent rocket fuel.” And if everything goes as planned, NASA could be able to produce rocket fuel from the surface of the moon, which means that moon could be used as a “fueling depot.”
Though the concept of robot-led exploration in space had been introduced way back in 2010, no robots have made it. Even NASA had planned to send “humanoid robots.” The last time Americans were on the moon which was through 1972’s Apollo 17 mission. In the spirit of encouraging space travel, President Trump revived the National Space Council in December 2017. According to him, their first mission is reaching the moon for “long-term use and exploration.”
Though Trump has been enthusiastic about the mission, NASA officials said it would take about ten years to initiate a human lunar mission launch. Furthermore, they said it is likely to take even longer than that to reach Mars.
But according to reports, it has been found that the Red Planet could house life. This means that human exploration plans could be faster. The Curiosity rover also discovered organic compounds on Mars that they claim to be once present in the Martian lake 3 billion years ago.
The Mars mission has been an agenda for many countries. China’s space agency vowed to send their space travellers to Mars by 2020. On the other hand, Russia claims to perform crewless launches in 2019, followed by a manned mission to Mars.