According to a recent report issued by The Planetary Society, NASA may put astronauts on Martian orbit by 2033, and land them onto its surface by 2039.
The Planetary Society, which is a non-for-profit organization that advocates for space exploration, released its report Thursday during a workshop designed to debate the feasibility of a manned mission to Mars and its related costs.
Experts involved in the debates concluded that astronauts could reach Mars’ moon Phobos no sooner than 2033 and land on the Red Planet six years later. This forecast is the most suitable to fit into NASA’s space exploration spending plan.
“We believe we now have an example of a long-term, cost-constrained, executable humans-to-Mars program,”
said Scott Hubbard, a Stanford University professor and a member of the organization’s board of directors.
At the event, other science experts expressed their opinion. The most notable were former-“The Science Guy” Bill Nye, who is also chief executive of The Planetary Society, and John Logsdon, a professor at George Washington University and member of the association’s board of directors.
The Planetary Society organized a workshop called “Humans Orbiting Mars” from March 31 to April 1, where about 70 participants debated the feasibility of a plan to send humans to orbit Mars and eventually land onto its surface, the costs of such endeavor, and the benefits it may bring.
Workshop participants also came up with a schedule for a future Mars mission that was more realistic than previous ones. However, the plan was not the original work of The Planetary Society. It was instead based on a report issued by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
According to the society’s briefings, the attendees were able to finally reach a consensus on several key points linked to the Mars mission. For instance, the majority agreed that an orbital mission was absolutely necessary before a landing took place.
Moreover, the participants agreed on the estimated costs such mission may imply, while an independent entity reported that the hypothetical program would match NASA’s space exploration budget if the agency would end its key-role in the International Space Station program.
The panel of experts even compared the Martian orbital mission to NASA’s Apollo 8 mission, which prepared the moon landing by placing astronauts into the lunar orbit first.
The panelists also estimated that an orbital mission to Phobos would last about two years and a half, with nine months to reach the distant moon, a year to orbit it, and another nine months to get back home.
During this mission, astronauts will be able to study both Phobos and Mars’ second moon Deimos and remotely control robotic rovers on the planet’s surface. Furthermore, crew members would reach Phobos’ orbit on an Orion spacecraft, experts also said.
Also, all panelists agree that such a mission was feasible and only a political roadblock might stop it. They also acknowledged that technical challenges were extremely difficult to handle by NASA engineers but not impossible. The real problem was politics, experts concluded. Prof Logsdon even stated that the next U.S. president should put the Mars mission on his top priority list.
Image Source: Discovery
Latest posts by Richard Carlisle (see all)
- Yes, Science Made Low-Fat Bacon Possible (Study) - Mar 13, 2019
- Scientists Report Success In Experimental Therapy To Prevent Zika - Mar 13, 2019
- A Paper-Based Test Can Seemingly Detect Zika In A Matter Of Minutes - Mar 13, 2019