The president is looking at NASA’s achievements over the past 6 years, confirming the reality of the goal of setting foot on the Martian surface in the near future.
In a patriotic and emotional CNN program on Tuesday morning, US President Barack Obama confirmed that NASA is going to land astronauts on the Martian surface and bring them back in the 2030s. At the same time, their “ultimate ambition is to keep the crew on the Martian lands for as long as possible for one day”.
In order to make the next giant leap in the issue of interplanetary travel, Obama added that NASA is going to cooperate with private companies, which will help to realize this idea as soon as possible.
“For a journey to Mars to become a reality, we need long-term cooperation between public and private innovators. And we are already on the right track, ”he writes. “For the next two years, private companies will send astronauts to the International Space Station for the first time.”
Since the creation of NASA, the space agency has entered into contracts with private companies that provided equipment for space exploration. And now NASA is signing contracts with private companies to launch rockets to ensure the delivery of equipment and consumables to the International Space Station (ISS). This situation creates a new race for the commercialization of space. Now the space station is partially serviced by SpaceX and Orbital Sciences. It is planned that this partnership will last and expand its borders (the delivery of astronauts to the orbital outpost will turn on). So there is nothing unusual in the fact that NASA will look for partners in the private sector so that the mission to Mars will be crowned with success.
Six years ago (October 11, 2010), Obama signed the law on redirecting the roadmap to Mars prepared by NASA. It skips Moon and develops new technologies that will allow to visit the asteroid, and then the human mission will go to the Red Planet. And in his review, Obama reflects on NASA's achievements over the past 6 years, which have led to private sector investment, which leads to economic growth and inspires the nation. But now NASA is seeking to send humanity beyond Earth orbit.
“We are pleased to announce that we are working with our commercial partners to create new habitats that can support and transport astronauts in deep space during long missions,” he writes. “These missions will teach us how to survive far from Earth. And this is the knowledge that is necessary for a long journey to Mars. ”
Complementing the president’s comment, NASA director Charles Bolden said that NASA is based on new technologies that allow astronauts to live in space far from their home planet. And this time is stretched not for hours, but for days or weeks. “For example, in the mid-2020s, the Asteroid Redirect Mission (an asteroid mission) plans to send a robotic spacecraft to a nearby asteroid to test exploration technologies (such as a solar-electric propulsion system), conduct scientific and planetary defense experiments, and then take a sample from the asteroid and bring it to the moon's orbit for study, ”writes Bolden. Asteroid Redirect Mission, known as ARM, gives a chance to prepare and improve the technology of flights to Mars and beyond.
In a statement, Bolden also gave some details about what NASA is currently doing to embody its intended goals. Including such programs as “NextSTEP”, which invite private companies to collaborate to invent new and innovative projects for the development of space habitats.
Bolden also discussed the possibility of adding a “commercial module” to a special port on the space station to “prepare one or several future space stations in low near-earth orbit, ready to take them in after the end of the mission in the 2020s”. He writes that private companies reacted with “enthusiasm” to his challenge.
NASA continues to develop its next powerful rocket, the Space Launch System and Orion capsules. It is used to deliver astronauts to asteroid and Mars. But behind the scenes, private companies are developing their own, independent projects to travel to Mars. It is noteworthy that the founder of SpaceX, Ilon Musk, in September announced plans for his company to create an infrastructure in space that would record the sustainable presence of humanity on the Red Planet. As a result, he wants to deliver at least a million people there in the next 100 years. However, the Mask schedule for launching the first colonists is much shorter than that followed by NASA.
If the SpaceX plan comes true, it will be interesting to see what NASA will do with its plans for exploring Mars. So, if private ships to transport people to Mars and back appear in the 2030s, why would NASA launch its rocket?