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NASA Wants Humans To Reach Mars By 2033

Many experts and lawmakers are concerned that NASA cannot make the deadline, especially given the major delays in development of its new heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System, which is being built by aerospace giant Boeing.

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NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine talks to employees about the agency's progress toward sending astronauts to the moon and on to Mars during a televised event, March 11, 2019, at the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. VOA

NASA has made it clear they want astronauts back on the Moon in 2024, and now, they are zeroing in on the Red Planet – the US space agency confirmed that it wants humans to reach Mars by 2033.

Jim Bridenstine, NASA’s administrator, said Tuesday that in order to achieve that goal, other parts of the program – including a lunar landing – need to move forward more quickly.

“We want to achieve a Mars landing in 2033,” Bridenstine told lawmakers at a congressional hearing on Capitol Hill.

“We can move up the Mars landing by moving up the Moon landing. The Moon is the proving ground,” added the former Republican congressman, who was appointed by President Donald Trump.

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“The intent of course is to not just get humans to the surface of the Moon but prove that we can live and work on another world.” Pixabay

NASA is racing to enact the plans of Trump, who dispatched Vice President Mike Pence to announce that the timetable for once again putting man on the Moon had been cut by four years to 2024.

The new date is politically significant: it would be the final year in Trump’s eventual second term at the White House.

Many experts and lawmakers are concerned that NASA cannot make the deadline, especially given the major delays in development of its new heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System, which is being built by aerospace giant Boeing.

Any mission to Mars would take at least two years, given the distance to be traveled. Getting there alone would take six months, as opposed to the three days needed to reach the Moon.

A round trip to Mars can only take place when the Red Planet is positioned on the same side of the Sun as Earth — that occurs about every 26 months, so the dates are 2031, 2033, and so on.

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NASA is racing to enact the plans of Trump, who dispatched Vice President Mike Pence to announce that the timetable for once again putting man on the Moon had been cut by four years to 2024. Pixabay

In 2017, a NASA budget bill set 2033 as the target date for the first manned mission to Mars, but NASA itself has talked about the “2030s” in its roadmap.

NASA wants to learn how to extract and use the tons of ice at the Moon’s south pole.

“Water ice represents air to breathe, it represents water to drink, it represents fuel,” Bridenstine said.

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“The intent of course is to not just get humans to the surface of the Moon but prove that we can live and work on another world.”

Democratic lawmaker Eddie Bernice Johnson, the chair of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, asked Bridenstine to put a price tag on the new schedule.

The NASA chief said he would make his updated budget request by April 15. (VOA)

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SpaceX Plans To Send NASA Astronauts To Space in Q2 This Year

As part of the test on Sunday, SpaceX configured Crew Dragon to trigger a launch escape about 1.5 minutes after liftoff

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It took a lot of work between NASA and SpaceX to get to this point. Pixabay

After NASA and SpaceX successfully completed a launch escape demonstration of the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket, Elon Musk said that his aerospace company aims to send NASA astronauts to space between April and June this year.

This was the final major flight test of the spacecraft before it begins carrying astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) under NASA’s Commercial Crew Programme, the US space agency said in a statement on Sunday.

With this test now complete, the next big flight of the Crew Dragon will have people on board: NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley.

“We’re highly confident that the hardware will be ready in Q1, most likely at the end of February but no later than March. And we think it appears probable that the first crewed launch would occur in the second quarter,” said Musk after the successful uncrewed test of its Crew Dragon capsule’s in-flight launch escape capabilities.

Musk said that if all goes well, the first crewed flight on the Crew Dragon could take place in the second quarter of this year.

“This critical flight test puts us on the cusp of returning the capability to launch astronauts in American spacecraft on American rockets from American soil,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “We are thrilled with the progress NASA’s Commercial Crew Programme is making and look forward to the next milestone for Crew Dragon.”

As part of the test on Sunday, SpaceX configured Crew Dragon to trigger a launch escape about 1.5 minutes after liftoff. All major functions were executed, including separation, engine firings, parachute deployment and landing. Crew Dragon splashed down at 10:38 am just off the Florida coast in the Atlantic Ocean.

“As far as we can tell thus far, it’s a picture perfect mission. It went as well as one can possibly expect,” said Musk. “This is a reflection of the dedication and hard work of the SpaceX and NASA teams to achieve this goal. Obviously, I’m super fired up. This is great.”

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After NASA and SpaceX successfully completed a launch escape demonstration of the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket, Elon Musk said that his aerospace company aims to send NASA astronauts to space between April and June this year. Wikimedia Commons

Prior to the flight test, teams completed launch day procedures for the first crewed flight test, from suit-up to launch pad operations. The joint teams now will begin the full data reviews that need to be completed prior to NASA astronauts flying the system during SpaceX’s Demo-2 mission. “The past few days have been an incredible experience for us,” said astronaut Doug Hurley.

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“Today, we watched the demonstration of a system that we hope to never use, but can save lives if we ever do. It took a lot of work between NASA and SpaceX to get to this point, and we can’t wait to take a ride to the space station soon,” he said in the NASA statement. (IANS)