Monday November 19, 2018
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NASA reveals detailed plan to send humans to Mars

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Washington: The US space agency has released a detailed outline of its plans to send manned mission to Mars.

In a report titled ‘NASA’s Journey to Mars: Pioneering Next Steps in Space Exploration’, agency administrator Charles Bolden said that NASA is closer to sending American astronauts to Mars than at any point in our history.

“Today, we are publishing additional details about our journey to Mars plan and how we are aligning all of our work in support of this goal.

“In the coming weeks, I look forward to continuing to discuss the details of our plan with members of Congress, as well as our commercial and our international and partners, many of whom will be attending the International Astronautical Congress next week,” he said in a statement.

The journey to Mars crosses three thresholds, each with increasing challenges as humans move farther from Earth.

The “Earth Reliant” exploration is focused on research aboard the International Space Station.

“From this world-class microgravity laboratory, we are testing technologies and advancing human health and performance research that will enable deep space, long duration missions,” Bolden added.

In the ‘Proving Ground’, NASA will learn to conduct complex operations in a deep space environment that allows crews to return to Earth in a matter of days.

“NASA will advance and validate capabilities required for humans to live and work at distances much farther away from our home planet, such as at Mars,” he stated.

“Earth Independent” activities build on what we learn on the space station and in deep space to enable human missions to the Mars vicinity, possibly to low-Mars orbit or one of the Martian moons, and eventually the Martian surface.

Future Mars missions will represent a collaborative effort between NASA and its partners – a global achievement that marks a transition in humanity’s expansion as we go to Mars to seek the potential for sustainable life beyond Earth.

Living and working in space require accepting risks – and the journey to Mars is worth the risks.

A new and powerful space transportation system is key to the journey, but NASA also will need to learn new ways of operating in space, based on self-reliance and increased system reliability.

“We will use proving ground missions to validate transportation and habitation capabilities as well as new operational approaches to stay productive in space while reducing reliance on Earth.” the statement further read.

With the Space Launch System, Orion crewed spacecraft, and revitalised space launch complex, the US space agency is developing core transportation capabilities for the journey to Mars and ensuring continued access for commercial crew and cargo partners to maintain operations and stimulate new economic activity in low-Earth orbit.

 

(IANS)

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The Aborted Mission To Relaunch In December: NASA

In August, a hole appeared in a Soyuz capsule docked to the ISS that caused a brief loss of air pressure and had to be patched.

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Russian Rocket
Astronaut Anne McClain, left, is seen during training at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory in Houston, Texas. VOA

The American astronaut who will hitch the first ride on a Russian rocket since last month’s aborted launch and dramatic emergency landing is confident that her scheduled trip in December on a rocket that she calls a “workhorse” will go smoothly.

Astronaut Anne McClain, along with a Russian cosmonaut and a Canadian astronaut, will man the Dec. 3 mission. It will be the Russian-made Soyuz-FG’s first crewed flight since Oct. 11, when U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and a Russian cosmonaut landed unharmed on the Kazakh desert steppe after the rocket bound for the International Space Station failed in mid-air two minutes after liftoff.

NASA, rocket
Specialists watch broadcasts from the Soyuz spacecraft showing astronaut David Saint-Jacques of Canada, Oleg Kononenko of Russia and astronaut Anne McClain of the U.S. attending the final qualification training for their upcoming space mission in Star City near Moscow, Russia. VOA

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has relied on Russian rockets to ferry astronauts to the space station since the United States retired its Space Shuttle program in 2011, though the agency has announced plans for test flights carrying two astronauts on commercial rockets made by Boeing and SpaceX next April.

“I do see the incident that happened on Oct. 11 with our launch abort not as a failure but as a success,” McClain told Reuters in a telephone interview from Russia. “It actually bolsters my confidence in the rocket and in the processes that we have.

“We’re confident in the vehicle and getting back to it,” McClain said of the Soyuz rocket, which she called “the workhorse of the space program.”

After lifting off from Kazakhstan’s Soviet-era cosmodrome of Baikonur last month, a damaged sensor caused one of the rocket’s three booster stages to separate improperly, falling inward on the rocket and jolting it off its ascent two miles above ground, Russian investigators announced earlier this month.

Russian Rocket
The Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft carrying the crew of astronaut Nick Hague of the U.S. and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Russia blasts off to the International Space Station (ISS) from the launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. VOA

During Assembly

Video from inside the capsule showed the two men being shaken around at the moment the failure occurred, their arms and legs flailing. Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin can be heard saying, “That was a quick flight.”

The accident was the first serious launch problem experienced by a crewed Soyuz space mission since 1983, when a crew narrowly escaped before a launchpad explosion.

Also Read: NASA Grants $7 Mn For New Life Detection

In August, a hole appeared in a Soyuz capsule docked to the ISS that caused a brief loss of air pressure and had to be patched. Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, has said that it could have been made deliberately by someone during manufacturing or while the craft was in space.

McClain and two other crewmates will launch from the same launchpad in Baikonur, joining the space station’s current three-person crew. (VOA)