WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- NASA has announced their timelines for its bold National Space Exploration Plan on Wednesday, which involves sending manned missions on the Moon and on Mars.
- The space agency factored in key gaps and flexibility in their timelines to allow for learning more about space and interplanetary travel.
- NASA hopes to use what it has learned to put astronauts in lunar orbit by June 2022 and crewed missions on Mars in the 2030s.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced a bold new plan on Wednesday, and it involves sending manned missions on the Moon in 10 years and on Mars in 20.
The space agency announced its National Space Exploration Plan in accordance with President Donald Trump’s lofty goals set out in his December 2017 Space Policy Directive-1, which include: a new Moon landing, long-term human deployment around and on the Moon, reaffirming America’s leadership in space, reinforcing private space companies, and figuring out how to send American astronauts to the surface of Mars.
NASA detailed their timelines for completing each goal in a 21-page report – from low Earth orbit (LEO) to cislunar space, and on to Mars.
Since there are still a lot of unresolved issues surrounding the plan – such as figuring out how to keep astronauts safe in outer space – NASA has factored in key gaps in the timeline to figure out certain parts of the plan and learn more about space and interplanetary travel.
All claims – including the one where astronauts are predicted to stroll around Mars by the 2030s – were made flexible to allow for changes if ever NASA researchers hit a snag or two in the process.
NASA will be launching 13 CubeSats into low Earth orbit in 2020 to learn how to improve space travel – whether it be to the Moon, Mars, or beyond – and is hoping to use what it’s learned to put astronauts in lunar orbit by June 2022.
The space agency also plans to wait until the results of the Mars 2020 mission, during which a rover will collect and analyze samples from Mars’ surface, before drafting up a budget for the crewed mission scheduled for some time in the 2030s.
If NASA sticks to and hopefully achieves this timeline, it could guide us further into space exploration.
Source: Science Alert