Speculations have started flying high regarding the year from which Humans will start inhabiting and living on the Martian surface. The Mars One colony project is already expected to kick start from 2025 while some expect the human colonies to start thriving by the year 2033. The exact year on which the Martian project would come alive will be a thing to be seen in the future.
In tandem with Humanity’s current obsession with extending our frontiers beyond earth, NASA has now announced its intentions to send astronauts to the Martian planet by 2039. By 2033, the astronauts are expected to be put in mars’ orbit. This view came out during a workshop recently conducted by The Planetary Society, and the discussion was co-chaired by Scott Hubbard and John Logsdon. The invitation-only workshop saw scientists, engineers and spaceflight managers coming together to discuss the future of space travel and extra-terrestrial human inhabitation.
Several advancements and technologies would have to come together to build this possibility in the future. NASA is already conducting experiments on tools that were 3D printed at the International Space Station, in order to assess whether 3D printers can help deeper space travels by eliminating the need for a mission to be replenished by ground stations. Also, it would be important to employ heavy-lift Space Launch Systems and the Orion crew capsule as a longer duration mission would necessitate massive amounts of supplies. Also, solar electric propulsion would become crucial if one has to eliminate heavier missions by reducing the dependence on fossil fuels.
Although the Mars expedition is expected to be very expensive, the workshop also saw ideas being exchanged regarding funding of the mission. Currently, ISS budget has been contemplated as a potential source, more so because it will be shut down by 2024. “If you want to be on Mars in 2033, you either have to have a budget that’s two or three times NASA’s current human spaceflight budget, even with inflation, or if you say you have to stick with the budget as it currently exists, it causes humans on Mars in, maybe, 2050,” Hubbard said.
All of the workshop’s findings will be formally reported this summer, on an architecture study run at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory with funding by the California Institute of Technology.
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