NASA has big plans for human exploration of Mars, but does its budget cover the costs of the planned mission?
NASA has big plans for human exploration of Mars, but does its budget cover the costs of the planned mission? According to a report from the Associated Press, sources indicate that the space agency may be nowhere near prepared to finance such a big mission.
NASA recently released a report entitled “Journey to Mars: Pioneering the Next Steps in Space Exploration,” in which they outlined the goals of a manned mission to Mars and how they will get there. As of now, they want to put a man on the Red Planet by 2030, but there has been little discussion of the cost or feasibility.
According to Casey Dreier, the directory of advocacy at the Planetary Society in Pasadena, CA, “I think it’s a good document that lays out the idea that NASA is committed to Mars. They’re looking at it, they’re thinking about how they’re going to align all their missions – it’s just a little light on details. Are they getting the resources they need to be successful in their goal? It’s kind of hard to say.”
There are three stages to NASA’s planned Mars mission, Earth Reliant, Proving Ground, and Earth Independent. The first would seek to leverage the International Space Station for research on extended stays in outer space. The second would focus on deeper space, and attempt to redirect an asteroid. Earth Independent is the final stage, and would hopefully put a man on Mars.
There is currently no solid framework for how these missions will be funded, but officials are hopeful that they will still make it off the ground.