President Barack Obama proposed a goal for sending a manned mission to Mars by the 2030s; however, NASA has no decision power over-, or idea if President Donald Trump is prepared to push through with such an ambitious goal.
Hillary Clinton gave the goal her general support when she spoke during her campaign. Mrs. Clinton also made clear that it would be critical for NASA to prepare the resources and funding it needs to achieve this goal.
For his part, President-elect Donald Trump says he loves NASA and what it stands for but that the country has to take care of other more pressing challenges first. He also said he would look into NASA’s spending priorities and make the necessary adjustments.
Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, envisions that humans should go to the red planet in 2040 at the latest. He also thinks it is of vital importance that that humans, not robots, along with various space agencies of the world explore and build habitats on the moon before heading further out in the solar system.
The mission requires international cooperation with the input of big businesses, Aldrin says, he also stresses that the Mars mission cannot be done by only one nation, the costs are simply too high for anything but an alliance of countries to shoulder. Aldrin sees it as the greatest undertaking for humanity to have a permanent presence on another planet.
The Orion Spaceship
Project managers from Lockheed Martin and NASA gathered in February this year to usher in the return of the Orion crew module (originally intended for a Mars mission) for future missions beyond low-earth orbit. Now it seems that the first journey will be to the Moon and then eventually on to Mars
Orion is planned to have 30 flight systems installed this year including navigation, power, and data processing systems and is expected to be finished in 2017. NASA hopes that 2018 will usher in the era of the Space Launch System (SLS) with the Orion spacecraft traveling thousands of miles beyond the Moon, breaking the record for furthest crewed space mission ever done.
Read more about NASA’s plans for the journey to Mars here