Monday, April 29, 2013

John Kelly: NASA still aiming for manned Mars mission

NASA’s not giving up on flying people to Mars.

Some critics of the space agency’s recent proposal to fly astronauts to an asteroid say we’re “settling” for something less than the big prize: humans walking on the red planet.

Not true. The mission to an asteroid is part of a stepping-stone approach to sending human beings exploring deeper into the solar system. A sensible look at NASA’s current flight capabilities, human limitations and the space exploration budget means Mars isn’t possible yet.

NASA’s top human spaceflight chief, Bill Gerstenmaier, recently went over the payoffs with a committee of the NASA Advisory Council.

The mission being planned to the asteroid will be a big part in making a mission to Mars possible. Getting there will require developing and flying the super rocket NASA would ultimately need for a trip to Mars, as well as the first model of the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle called Orion. It will require more complex spacewalking equipment and capabilities. And new propulsion technology. And more extended flights.

Full article: http://www.floridato … -manned-Mars-mission

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