A new statement from NASA on manned space exploration goals has clarified the details of crewed trips to Mars.
According to the details announced, the space agency plans for astronauts to stay on Mars for 30 days in the first place.
The spacecraft that carries astronauts to the Red Planet during this one-month period is also planned to serve as life for the crew. For this reason, a hybrid rocket with chemical and electric propulsion will be used in the journey to Mars.
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With current technology, unmanned space travel to Mars takes at least 7 months. In manned travel, this period can be up to 9 months. This means that astronauts who go to Mars will have a significantly weaker connection with Earth.
Therefore, the design of the spacecraft that will offer astronauts a living space is gaining great importance.
The most striking part of the space agency’s statements was the number of people in the crew and the division of labor among astronauts.
According to this, two astronauts from the crew of 4 will stay in a spacecraft that will orbit the Red Planet. The other two astronauts will land on the planet’s surface in a landing craft weighing 25 tons.
It is also planned to download some of the materials that may be needed on the surface in advance.
For example, a vehicle that will carry astronauts back into orbit on the surface when the mission expires will also be deployed to the surface in advance.
Vogel suggests that in order to truly spend an Earth moon on the uninhabited Martian surface, two crew members could live in a pressurized rover that would provide habitat and allow them to complete scientific goals.
Kurt Vogel, director of space architecture at NASA, stresses that in order for astronauts to spend a month on the desolate Martian surface, it is essential to design a spacecraft that will provide them with habitat and allow them to complete scientific goals.
Pam Melroy, one of the agency managers, draws attention to the tasks that fall to other institutions that NASA cooperates with at this point:
The feedback we receive for the targets we have set will shed light on our exploration plans on the Moon and Mars for the next 20 years.
Gateway to Mars: Artemis
The space agency is currently working on sending astronauts to the Moon. With this project, called Artemis, astronauts will be sent to the natural satellite in 2026. The agency ultimately aims to establish a sustainable base in and around the lunar surface in and around the end of the 2020s to accommodate people.
The data from this experience will be used for the agency to travel to the depths of space.
NASA’s first target in the Solar System will be Mars. In the future, a self-sufficient base is planned to be established on the Red Planet, just like on the Moon.