Manned mission to Mars is closer than ever — NASA’s Charles Bolden
Recent technological developments make 2030s mission “eminently achievable”.
Held at NASA headquarters in Washington, DC, the event was webcast live on NASA TV.
According to Tech Times, the first unmanned test with the SLS was declared to be pushed back to 2018, even if an unmanned test of the Orion capsule in 2014 was able to send the spacecraft to 3,600 miles above the Earth.
The successful growing of lettuce on board the ISS, which astronauts ate, is another victory because it helps scientists understand how to grow food in space, Newman said.
As for those that will fly the mission, NBC News reported that NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko just completed half of a yearlong mission on the worldwide Space Station to further study the psychological and physiological effects of long-duration spaceflight.
Unfortunately, NASA says due to structural changes made to the Orion capsule, the mission (EM-2) might not take off until April 2023; the original date was tentatively penned in for August 2021, which means we’ll have to wait a couple more years than originally thought.
There are other projects that NASA has either commissioned or working on including the Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment (MOXIE), which will pull carbon dioxide from the thin Martian atmosphere and turn it into pure oxygen and carbon monoxide, demonstrating technology that could keep settlers alive on the Red Planet – and help them blast off the surface when it’s time to go home.
Still, the agency seems more confident than ever that humans will one-day step foot on the Red Planet, which is now occupied by NASA’s Curiosity rover. “These experiments – they’re real, they’re here”, Newman emphasized.
The space agency chief said that he had dreams as a younger astronaut (Bolden was a space shuttle commander prior to becoming Administrator) of being the first man to explore Mars.
“We are farther down the path to sending humans to Mars than at any point in NASA’s history”, he said.
“We have been engaged in getting to Mars – getting humans to Mars – for at least 40 years, beginning with the first precursors”, Bolden said. She studied journalism at Douglass College, Rutgers University, and earned a Graduate Certificate of Science in astronomy from Swinburne University’s Astronomy Online program.