NASA's Mars Journey: Next Steps For Mankind - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Government // Leadership
News
10/11/2015
12:06 PM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
Slideshows
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

NASA's Mars Journey: Next Steps For Mankind

Sometime in the 2030s, NASA wants to land astronauts on Mars. Here's a look at what it will take to get us there.
Previous
1 of 8
Next

(Image: NASA)

(Image: NASA)

With film audiences traveling to Mars in their imaginations through The Martian, a fictional account of a future mission to fourth planet, NASA is preparing to make that trip.

On Thursday, the space agency published an outline of its plan to reach the red planet, "NASA's Journey to Mars: Pioneering Next Steps in Space Exploration."

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement that he plans to discuss the plan with members of Congress and the space agency's international partners.

Reaching Mars may be the most ambitious challenge undertaken by humanity to date. The journey will tax bodies, minds, and resources on an unprecedented scale. It will require NASA to work with private sector and international partners, including the 12 other space agencies seeking to expand humanity's reach in the Solar System.

NASA acknowledges the way to Mars will not be easy, but it maintains its goal is realistic. "We are developing the capabilities necessary to get there, land there, and live there," NASA says in its report.

[Check out these stunning images of NASA's Apollo missions through the years.]

The plan anticipates three phases, each moving humans closer to Mars, with an arrival date sometime in the 2030s, if all goes well.

The first phase involves Earth Reliant exploration. It's where we are now, using the International Space Station for experiments to help us understand how to maintain human health in space and develop the necessary technology to travel and thrive in hostile environments.

Over the next decade, NASA will expand the scope of its operations to cislunar space, the area of space around the Moon. During this Proving Grounds phase, NASA and its partners will focus on validating the systems it develops for transportation, working in space, and keeping astronauts healthy far from home. Researchers will also focus on balancing the need for supplies from Earth against opportunities to use locally generated or recaptured resources, with a view toward making human outposts in space self-sustaining.

The final phase will be Earth Independent. Astronauts will reach for low-Mars orbit, perhaps the Martian moons, and finally Mars itself. The goal, says William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations at NASA Headquarters, is "a future with a sustainable human presence in deep space."

NASA expects the journey to Mars will improve life on Earth. "NASA's human exploration, science, and technology endeavors are intertwined," the space agency's report concludes. "As our exploration activities reach farther into the solar system, we will also broaden our reach here on Earth, enabling more participation, partners, activity, and economic and technological benefits."

We have something to look forward to.

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Previous
1 of 8
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

News
How SolarWinds Changed Cybersecurity Leadership's Priorities
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  5/26/2021
Commentary
How CIOs Can Advance Company Sustainability Goals
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  5/26/2021
Slideshows
IT Skills: Top 10 Programming Languages for 2021
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  5/21/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Planning Your Digital Transformation Roadmap
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
Slideshows
Flash Poll