NASA has just made some rescheduling: astronauts will again walk on the Moon in 10 years and on Mars in 20. Or something like that…
On 26 September, NASA announced their National Space Exploration Plan to show the President that they are addressing the December 2017 Space Policy Directive-1. Now that the plans are made public let’s find out what they include and what we should expect to happen in the next two decades.
According to the plan, the Agency has in mind a Moon landing, longer and often human deployment on the Moon’s surface, strengthening the bond with private space companies, reasserting America’s leadership in space and figuring a way to send people to Mars.
The plan comes with many question marks, such as how will the astronauts be kept safe in space, considering there are many hazards. Nonetheless, NASA scientists have taken these issues into account as they completed the goals in the 21-page report. The photo above is part of the report, showing a three-step program: LEO (low Earth orbit) missions, cislunar space and then Mars missions.
NASA will probably figure out how to solve some of the main issues in time, and they will incorporate all their discoveries in the plan, along the way. If NASA researchers realize that astronauts will not be able to take a walk on Mars too soon, by the 2030s they should have enough time to address the issues.
2020 Will Start With 13 CubeSats and Work Towards Lunar Missions
For example, they are waiting for the results of the 2020 mission on Mars, when a rover will collect and analyze samples from the surface of the red planet. Only after further research, they will think of future crewed missions. But until 2030, NASA will first have to focus on delivering payloads for space travel and prepare them for deeper space missions. For this matter, NASA will send 13 CubeSats into low Earth orbit in 2020, and by June 2022, they will learn more about space and how to better put astronauts in lunar orbit.
If NASA sticks to the schedule and achieves the first two goals, space exploring will enter a new era.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.