The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced that the 2030s could mark man’s first-ever landing on Mars after a number of scheduled scientific experiments have been progressively concluded, discloses NASA administrator Charles Bolden during an official event in Washington, D.C. last week. The revelation follows NASA’s successful completion of a meticulous “technical and programmatic” review on the “Orion” spacecraft, painstakingly designed for man’s first ever excursion into deep space.
“Our work to send humans out into the solar system is progressing. Orion is a key piece of the flexible architecture that will enable humanity to set foot on the Red Planet, and we are committed to building the spacecraft and other elements necessary to make this a reality.”
NASA’s previously unmanned test flight conducted in 2014 provided engineers with abundant data to ascertain the magnitude of risk associated with manned excursions to the Red Planet and beyond. The findings also paved the way for engineers to introduce state-of-the-art technology to improve upon the design, structure and functional efficacy of the spacecraft. Earlier this month, NASA engineers in New Orleans successfully put together two integral components of the Orion crew module that will accompany NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket on a mission deep into space. NASA’s “Orion” will serve as the principal exploration medium that will transport the crew, provide emergency abort capability, secure the crew during flight, and provide protected re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.
This year NASA completed its “first developmental test series” on the RS-25 engines designated to power its Space Launch System. The SLS rocket will be NASA’s first “exploration-class vehicle” since the Saturn V flew American astronauts to the moon decades ago. NASA spacecraft and rovers are already drifting around the Red Planet to monitor its surface and transmit data. Orion and the SLS will spearhead man’s travel into deep space and beyond as well as ensure safe passage back to earth.
Earlier this year, the Red Planet sparked extraordinary interest among scientists when NASA’s “Opportunity” rover detected a unique combination of rocks vividly apparent on its surface that seemed markedly different from the otherwise familiar rock formations previously encountered. The rocks boasted increasingly elevated concentrations of aluminum and silicon present in them.
NASA has scheduled its next rover for Mars in 2020, which is most likely to employ sophisticated instruments to undertake specific exploratory investigations on the Red Planet.
[Photo by ESA/Getty Images]