NASA’s Perseverance Rover, which landed on Mars on Thursday, is in fifth place to complete its journey to the red planet, but when will humans arrive?
“We are still in the middle and until the end of the 2030s, we will begin to use the means to allow astronauts to go to the moon to go to Mars,” NASA executive Steve Zursik said Thursday. Large technical challenges are more or less solved, but many factors for that purpose are still missing.
The journey to Mars will take seven months, with the first astronauts to spend 30 days there. Expects NASA. The average temperature on this planet is below 63 C, where radiation is high and the air is 95% carbon dioxide.
Gravity is only 38% of the Earth. But “thanks to the International Space Station, we learned a lot about microgravity,” said G.S., a former NASA employee who headed the U.S. space agency’s first Mars program. Says Scott Hubbard.
However, a number of materials and techniques have not yet been tested. Perseverance carried many tools with the aim of preparing for future human travels.
One of those tools is the size of a car battery, MOXIE, whose purpose is to try to produce oxygen on Mars, absorbing CO2, like a plant.
This oxygen can be inhaled and used as fuel. The famous Artemis project back to the moon, which NASA is now focusing on in its efforts, is seen as a test bed before heading to Mars.
The company wants to use it to test A new astronaut case, xEMU, will allow for greater mobility and protect astronauts against lower temperatures.
Even during dust storms, it could be a chance to install a nuclear power plant on Mars that could cover the sun for months, preventing solar panels from working.
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What is it like to test it all on the moon? Opportunity to send rescue teams. On Mars, if things go wrong, you’re years away from home, “explains Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Astronomical Center.
To Laura Forksick, an astronaut, “It is possible to send humans to Mars, but it is safe to send robots for now”, Required security standards are low.
The biggest obstacle is political will, because finance depends on it. In 1990, George HW Bush announced the arrival of man on Mars, in July 2019, just before the fiftieth anniversary of the first column on the moon.
Similar promises of his three heirs (his son George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump) have not been translated into any concrete plan. Will it be in the 2030s?
“It is possible … but it will not happen without the political will of the administration and Congress,” G. said. Says Scott Hubbard. US President Joe Biden has not yet appointed a permanent administrator for NASA or commented on space travel.
His spokesman Artemis only said he “supported” the plan. The mission of an astronaut to return to the moon by 2024 will face “delays” and will be postponed to Mars as a “domino effect”, warns Laura Forksick
A possible visit to the Red Planet in the 2040s