NASA improves its strategy to send humans to Mars

Artist's conception of an early Mars base.

Artist’s conception of an early Mars base.
picture: NASA

NASA’s Upcoming Artemis Moon Program A stepping stone to an eventual manned mission to Mars. A revised list of planning objectives details the strategy for accomplishing this daunting feat.

This Documentationrelease Tuesday, serve As a blueprint for how we will eventually send humans to Mars. NASA has opted for a “Moon to Mars” strategy, in which the space agency, with the assistance of commercial and international partners, will acquire the technology and skills needed to work on the Moon, and then use that knowledge to carry out crewed missions to Mars, tentatively scheduled for the late 2030s or early 2040s.

Earlier this year, NASA drafted 50 Advanced Goals For the program, And in June ask Its employees, members of public and private companies and international partners join.A pair of workshops followed to enrich These ideas go a step further.

In total, NASA received more than 5,000 proposals, allowing the space agency to refine its pre-existing target list and add new projects entirely. The resulting 63 goals reflect a “mature strategy” as NASA and its partners develop their plans According to NASA, “the persistent presence and exploration of humans throughout the solar system” Press release.

“Our first draft of our Moon to Mars target was intentionally broad, and the overwhelming response we received encouraged us to be broader in some areas, but More specific in other areas.” “We went from 50 goals to 63 goals covering multidisciplinary science, transportation and habitation, lunar and Mars infrastructure, operations, and a new area: recurring principles.”

Cleverly, the revised strategy aligns closely with NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to return humans to the moon, It’s always good this time. As such, the 63 high-level targets listed in the new document are a mix of Moon and Mars-specific requirements. The new goals are grouped into five categories: recurring principles, science, infrastructure, transportation and habitation, and operations.

Recurring principles reflect common themes across all objectives, such as international and industry cooperation, ensuring crew health and safe return to Earth, maximizes crew time for scientific and engineering activities during the mission, and “promotes the expansion of the economy beyond Earth orbit in support of American industry and innovation.” I don’t like to specifically mention “U.S. industry and innovation”, as this international effort should also seek to boost the economies of partner countries, which is likely to do so. But like many things NASA says and does, there are political considerations.The space agency must always be comfortable until Congress, The administrator of the wallet.

Science goals from the Moon to Mars should address areas such as planetary science, solar science, human and biological sciences, and fundamental physics.Ideally, we should strive to improve our According to the document, learn about the geology of the early solar system, the Moon and Mars, the origins of life, space weather, the history of the Sun, and the deleterious effects of long-term missions on biological systems, including humans. As the Moon to Mars Blueprint spells out, In this plan, we should “assess how the interaction of exploration systems and the deep space environment affects human health, performance, and space anthropogenic factors to inform future exploration-level missions”.

Specific infrastructure goals for the lunar and Martian environments include power generation, various robotic capabilities, communications infrastructure, navigation and timing (i.e. ensuring synchronization between devices, some of which will be far apart), and on-site resource utilization. In terms of transportation and habitation, the blueprint seeks to develop “an integrated system for human exploration missions on the Moon and Mars, while living and working on the surfaces of the Moon and Mars, and returning safely to Earth.”

Operational Requirements for Realizing Human Moon Missions and Mars include establishing command and control processes, operating ground maneuver systems (such as spacesuits, tools and vehicles), and the communication delay factor.Fascinatingly, the document also calls for “instruments and equipment to be found, serviced, upgraded, or used from robotic landers or from previous human missions on the Moon and Martian surfaces.” This took me by surprise, and I suddenly imagined the Martian crew poaching NASA’s InSight lander parts or repairs Opportunity probe defunct.

“We are helping guide humanity’s global movement into deep space,” Jim Free, associate administrator for NASA’s Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate, said in a news release. “These goals will help ensure that a long-term strategy for solar system exploration can remain objective and withstand changes in politics and funding.”

These goals are both necessary and daunting, as project planners seek to achieve mission objectives while at the same time ensuring the safety of their workers. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk breathlessly claims he will plant There will be a million colonists on Mars by 2050, so it should be noted. Getting to Mars isn’t just about packing starships with colonists and wishing them luck.

more: Elon Musk’s plan to send 1 million colonists to Mars by 2050 is delusional.

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