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Manned Mission to Mars

Posted November 19, 2015 12:00 AM by joeymac

Since the movie "The Martian" came out I was curious to see if NASA really is thinking about sending people to Mars and sure enough it's in the works. NASA wants to put people on Mars by the 2030s. NASA has a three-part plan to reach Mars.

larger version of image from NASA

The first phase involves more research on the International Space Station when it comes to studying the effects of living in space for long periods of time and the other part of phase one is further development of its most powerful rocket, called the Space Launch System (SLS). In the second phase NASA wants to perform a variety of tasks in the space around the moon called cislunar space. This includes an asteroid redirect mission that includes sending a solar electric robotic probe to an asteroid and removing a boulder-sized chunk, and then taking that chunk back to cislunar orbit. NASA wants to bring astronauts out to study the asteroid sample by 2025. The final phase of the plan involves sending astronauts to orbit Mars and possibly landing on one of its moons. Then the hardest part: landing humans on Mars with the equipment to get off the planet's surface and return safely back to Earth. So if everything goes to plan and there aren't many major setbacks, could we be watching humans on Mars in real life, instead of the big screen in the not so distant future? Space exploration has gotten very interesting again.

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#1

Re: Manned Mission to Mars

11/19/2015 7:26 AM

NASA has been planning Mars missions for the last 40 years. This is nothing new.

The problem is, that each new government administration decrees NASA to plan for this or that, the next administration scraps it, forcing NASA to change its goals and sights.

Given the shifting history of NASA I am suspicious about NASA achieving anything of significance for a very long time.

The golden age for NASA was the 1960s.

From 1961 to 1969 NASA went from the first suborbital manned flight to the surface of the Moon and back.

That was done with slide rulers, by the way.

Contrast that with the last 10 years. We can't even get a man back into orbit and cancelled the Shuttle and the Constellation lift systems.

So, yes, there is a lot of planning going on, but it shifts like smoke in a wind storm and any real progress is pitifully slow. The technological means is there. We simply lack the will and the funds to do anything.

After the next presidential election it is almost certain that another seismic shift in planning will take place.

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#2

Re: Manned Mission to Mars

11/19/2015 12:57 PM

Hire J J Abrams to do the Mars landing on a sound stage on the Atacama. It'd save us all a bunch of money and he can get it done a lot sooner.

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#3
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Re: Manned Mission to Mars

11/19/2015 2:58 PM

...and, be sure to have Matt Damon act the leading role (wink,wink)!

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#4

Re: Manned Mission to Mars

11/19/2015 5:41 PM

Mars is 100 times as far away as the moon. It seems like we should be going to the moon on a regular basis before we can think about going to Mars. Just sayin'.

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#5

Re: Manned Mission to Mars

12/26/2015 3:43 PM

Regarding Mars, NASA and Elon Musk each have their own reasons for wanting to go to the Red planet.

Only Elon Musk is destination-driven. NASA is not, which is why NASA has been literally going around in circles for the past 17 years, -in low Earth orbit.

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