NASA's mission to Mars in limbo due to insufficient funds, admits cannot afford to send humans on red planet

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 15 July 2017, 04:17 PM
Mars mission: NASA short of funds to land humans on red planet
Mars mission: NASA short of funds to land humans on red planet

US space agency ‘NASA sending humans on Mars’ has been one of the most discussed topics among the scientists and space enthusiasts for years. However, in what could be termed as a disappointing development, NASA has admitted that it cannot afford to send humans on Mars.

NASA opened about on the topic in a meet of American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronauts which was held on July 12. NASA has been grabbing headlines for years regarding its future possibility to send humans on Mars.

However, there are constraints especially with “too little funds” and NASA says landing humans on Mars will be a huge challenge. 

“I can’t put a date on humans on Mars, and the reason really is…at the budget level we described, this roughly two per cent increase, we don’t have the surface systems available for Mars,” said William Gerstenmaier, NASA’s chief of human spaceflights, Ars Technica reported. “And that entry, descent, and landing is a huge challenge for us for Mars.”

The future Mars missions that include making Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft is costing too much to NASA. The US space agency, as a result, cannot afford to start designing vehicles to land on Mars or ascend the surface, according to the report.

Meanwhile, private companies like blue Origins and SpaceX are preparing for Mars mission. SpaceX founder Elon Mask has even announced plans to make human colonies on Mars aims to send humans to the red planet in 2025.

Vice President Mike Pence had earlier hinted on “commercial space” – a kind of contracting NASA used to fund its commercial cargo and crew programs. "The truth is that American business is on the cutting edge of space technology," he had said.

However, since NASA has the “support to extensive Moon surface program”, Gerstenmaier opened the door to the possibility of landing humans on Moon again.

“If we find out there’s water on the Moon, and we want to do more extensive operations on the Moon to go explore that, we have the ability with Deep Space Gateway to support an extensive Moon surface program,” he said. “If we want to stay focused more toward Mars we can keep that.”

First Published: Saturday, July 15, 2017 11:09 AM

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