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NASA shares plans for its most exciting and ambitious Mars mission

Published May 26th, 2022 11:11AM EDT
two astronauts during mission to mars
Image: Gorodenkoff

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NASA is planning to send astronauts on a 30-day mission to Mars. The space agency shared some of its plans for the mission earlier this week. It’s all just a concept at the moment, but NASA is looking for feedback on the idea.

NASA wants to run a 30-day mission to Mars

A 30-day mission to Mars would let astronauts explore surface locations like this for the first timeImage source: NASA/JPL

The mission isn’t expected to happen anytime soon, obviously. NASA still needs to get its Moon missions going first. But the space agency is very interested in putting human boots on the Martian surface. So interested, in fact, that it shared top objectives for the mission earlier this month.

NASA says that the mission will be a two-person surface mission. As such, its top objectives include proving the viability of living and working on the Martian surface. This means optimizing operations and establishing command, control, and coordination across both the Moon and Mars. We already knew that the Moon would play a large part in NASA’s Mars missions. But this further concretes past reports.

Additionally, there are several science objectives that NASA has outlined. You can, of course, read through the entirety of the objectives for NASA’s 30-day mission to Mars. And, if interested, provide feedback on the plan before May 31.

Of course, as I noted above, all of this is just a concept. As such, it relies heavily on a lot of things falling into place at the right time.

The journey is one of the hardest parts

Space shuttles are currently compact and small crafts, which could make long journeys difficult. Image source: SpaceX

Of course, getting to that fateful mission isn’t going to be simple. For one, we just don’t have the technology we need to be able to explore Mars just yet. Scientists are still looking for ways to breathe on Mars. Whether that means long-term equipment or even other options remains to be seen.

Further, a 30-day mission to Mars means astronauts will need to spend months in microgravity. Then, once they reach the Red Planet, they’ll have to recover to even operate in the partial gravity there. NASA says one possible way it may address that particular issue is to have astronauts live in a pressurized rover during their mission.

NASA hopes to be able to complete a 30-day mission to Mars sometime in the late 2030s or early 2040s. However, it remains to be seen just how advanced technology will be by then. We’ll also have to wait and see how successful the agency’s Artemis missions are at putting people on the Moon again.

Ultimately, putting human boots on Mars is a lofty goal. But, with the right advances and funding, NASA may be able to do it. The only unknown here is just when that will be possible.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.