For decades, crewed missions have been restricted to the low orbit of the Earth. However, NASA is set to change this. After some reluctant statements have been made regarding missions to Mars and even a return to the Moon, the agency finally released a timeline of these objectives which are necessary to be met in order to get mankind there.
It will all start with the expanse of commercial launch abilities and it will lead to a moon base and eventually, it will end with the man finally setting foot on the Red Planet. However, you shouldn’t expect from NASA the kind of confidence which emanates from a single tweet of Elon Musk. For these objectives, NASA and everyone else has changed the ways of getting to space.
The first step is represented by the Commercial Crew Program which means that Boeing and SpaceX will begin to transport astronauts to the International Space Station in the following two years. It represents the first move for the shift to a non-NASA operating model for partially or all of the ISS by 2025.
But that does not mean that NASA is done with the space station game. That’s because there are plans for building a moon base by 2023. Currently called ‘The Gateway’, it will act, as the name suggests, as a gateway to the rest of the solar system. Consisting of four parts, habitation and utility, power and propulsion, airlock and logistics and robot arm, it will be a technological marvel.
As for the plans NASA has for the Red Planet, there isn’t so much information yet. What we know so far is that there are plans to get a new rover to Mars by 2020, a robotic return must occur several years later and eventually, we will see steps taken for delivering humans to Mars.
Laura grew up in a small town in northern Quebec. She studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married her husband one month later. They were then blessed with two baby boys within the first four years of marriage. Having babies gave their family a desire to return to the old paths – to nourish their family with traditional, homegrown foods; rid their home of toxic chemicals and petroleum products; and give their boys a chance to know a simple, sustainable way of life. They are currently building a homestead from scratch on two little acres in central Texas. There’s a lot to be done to become somewhat self-sufficient, but they are debt-free and get to spend their days living this simple, good life together with their five young children. Laura is an advocate for people with disabilities.