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NASA Can’t Afford to Put Humans on the Planet Mars

Conor Gaffey - Newsweek Tech & Science
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July 14, 2017
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Do You Have What It Takes to Live on Mars? (AsapSCIENCE)

Colonizing Mars has long captivated the human imagination, and NASA is no exception.

The American space agency has made landing humans on Mars a high priority of its exploration programs and under bipartisan 2010 legislation pledged to develop the capabilities to send humans to the planet by the 2030s.

But there remains a major problem standing between mankind and the red planet: money.

The head of NASA’s program on human exploration of space, William Gerstenmaier, said that with its current budget the agency simply cannot afford the cost of propelling a manned spacecraft to Mars.

“Through this horizon, through the 2030s, I can’t put a date on humans on Mars,” said Gerstenmaier on Wednesday, in response to a question at a propulsion meeting of the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics in Georgia.

“At the budget levels we’ve described - it’s roughly a 2 percent increase - we don’t have the surface systems available for Mars. That entry, descent and landing is a huge challenge for us for Mars.”

NASA has landed several unmanned exploratory vehicles on Mars in the past. The Curiosity rover, which landed on Marsh in August 2012 and will soon be celebrating its five-year anniversary exploring the planet, cost around $2.5 billion.

Read the rest at Newsweek

Related: Skintight Space Suits Are the Order of the Day for Astronauts Who Hope to Survive Life on Mars (Newsweek)

Related: Mars Mission Astronauts Rehearse Water Landings (Associated Press)


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