NASA has claimed on Thursday that a manned mission to Mars is impossible without the support of the space agency. The bold claim was made during a U.S. House Committee meeting on Science, Space and technology.
NASA administrator Charles Bolden was invited for the meeting to speak on the space agency’s vision at present and in the fat future. He repeatedly mentioned that a manned mission to Mars was possible by 2030. Bolden stated that Mars is the most planet like Earth, and reaching and colonizing the planet is not impossible. He added that NASA should the lead the space exploration and wanted to make a test facility available to private sectors.
“No commercial company without the support of NASA ans the government is going to get to Mars,” said Bolden.
Bolden announced that Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) will be launched in 2020. ARM will be used to relocate asteroids into the orbit around the moon, and will help in studying autonomous robotic technology and Solar Electric Propulsion. A member of NASA’s Mars exploration Rover team Nathalie Cabrol believes that studying Mars is not a waste of time.
Cabrol believed that Mars was habitable billions of years ago, and is expected to be habitable again. The government agency is expected to sign a deal with commercial spaceflight company SpaceX. Recently, SpaceX revealed its plans to launch a manned mission to Mars by 2020, without the help of NASA. Bolden mentioned NASA’s significance in taking the lead in space exploration, and not the private sector.
Several countries are already in the race to land on Mars though it is an expensive process. SpaceX plans to charge $500,000 for a trip to Mars. However, it is unlikely that people will prefer the trip due to its long duration. It remains to be seen if NASA assists other governments for a manned mission to the red planet.[ Via ]