Better get your rockets ready…..its time for a space mission.
Asherel Kaseorg, Staff Writer
Have you ever wished you could just leave this planet and go be a hermit for awhile? Good news- according to President Barack Obama, NASA has plans to send humans to Mars. Obama says, “We have set a clear goal vital to the next chapter of America’s story in space: sending humans to Mars by the 2030’s and returning them safely to Earth, with the ultimate ambition to one day remain there for an extended time.”
This is very exciting for anyone interested in space travel. Astrophysicist and Wingate University professor Dr. Grant Thompson says that while people used to be incredibly enthusiastic about the United States space endeavor, watching all the launches and landings, but many of the new generation have lost interest. Millions of people aren’t even aware that humans are in space right now, aboard the International Space Station.
The idea of traveling to Mars has gained more attention, though. Whether or not NASA will actually put humans on Mars in the 2030’s is arguable. Some people think there’s no way NASA can meet that deadline, while others say the deadline isn’t soon enough.
Dr. Thompson thinks we should return to the moon before we attempt to go to Mars. “It has been over four decades since we have set foot on the Moon, and we have so much to learn from our nearest astronomical neighbor.”
Thompson says. “Establishing a lunar base, an array of telescopes on the far side, and many other developments seem much more worth it than jumping the Moon to Mars. At the same time, holding true to the 1960’s platform of showing great power and ability, perhaps we should shoot for more than the Moon, let’s shoot for Mars as a major goal to truly achieve interplanetary travel.”
Before arriving on Mars, NASA plans to test its systems on and around the moon, sending astronauts on spacewalks between 2018 and 2030. Along with NASA, there are several private companies also working to set foot on Mars. One of the more well-known programs is Mars One, which is based in the Netherlands and plans to begin unmanned robot setup missions to Mars in 2020, with one-way manned trips to Mars in 2027.
Another program, SpaceX, has even bigger plans. SpaceX’s founder and CEO Elon Musk announced that they aim to establish a million-person Mars colony in the next 50-100 years.
In September, they released their Interplanetary Transport System, which will be the most powerful rocket to date and will carry over 100 people. Not only is it extremely powerful and fast, making the trip in about 80 days, but it will also be a fun trip for the passengers.
It will have movie theaters, restaurants, and lecture halls. And unlike Mars One, there will be return trips. The ships will depart every 26 months, when Mars and Earth align near each other.
While it will certainly be a very long time before normal civilians are able to live on Mars, it will eventually be a necessity. “Humans need to be a multi planet species,”, says NASA. If humans only stay on Mars, we may follow the same fate as the dinosaurs.
Mars is a good planet to start with, because it is relatively similar to Earth. It has roughly the same day and night cycle, and it has water in the form of ice.
“I do think humans will get to Mars,” says Dr. Thompson. “How soon, I don’t know, but it will take centuries to develop and maintain living conditions suitable for extensive expeditions.” Hopefully, we’ll be able to watch the first flights happen with the same excitement that the moon landing gathered.
Edited by: Sara Gunter