NASA is Rehearsing for Manned Mission to Mars, Will the Mars Touchdown Occur Under Trump's Administration?
Practice makes perfect, at least for Earth. This is why NASA is consistently working on technologies and processes that will make the Journey to Mars in 2030 a success. In line with that, the agency is rehearsing for athe manned mission to Mars. However, the question is, will the touchdown occur under Trump's administration?
NASA is currently rehearsing for the manned mission to Mars in a mountainous terrain in Hawaii. The agency chose the Mauna Ulu volcano located on the Big Island due to its similarity to the Martian surface.
Since man-made spacecraft reached Mars, space flight engineers are trying to enhance landing methods to lessen the chance of crashes on the red planet. The most recent casualty is the European's Space Agency's (ESA) ExoMars lander Schiaparelli that crashed due to a navigational glitch.
Two "astronauts" are involved in the rehearsal in the torturous terrain. Surviving an isolated and harsh environment is vital in the Journey to Mars. This is another factor that the agency is considering before actually sending humans to Mars.
"You're trying to keep people alive and trying to get them beyond low Earth orbit... there are experiments that are done, but the science isn't really baked in," Darlene Lim, NASA geobiologist said in a statement. But when we head out to somewhere like Mars, and we're going to be there for a while ... we're going to have to look at designing these missions with an inherent component to science."
Lim helped planned the mission that involves surviving fatal gasses and treacherous landscapes. The rehearsal will help the agency in determining how the astronauts could survive on Mars for its Journey to Mars mission in 2030.
While the rehearsals are on-going, some expressed their anxiety on whether or not Mars touchdown could happen during President-elect Donald Trump's watch. Reports say that there are no specific plans for NASA yet but the newly elected president was quoted saying that he wanted to explore the Solar System. However, NASA worries if the Journey to Mars is one of Trump's preferred programs.
"Donald Trump has pledged to 'drain the swamp' in his first 100 days. But NASA has no idea whether they are part of this 100 days or not. They do not know what the budget is going to be, whether Earth science is being carved out of NASA or the journey to Mars is being canceled. Keith Cowing, formerly associated with NASA said in an interview with The Guardian.
The anxiety is coming from Trump's former quotes saying he wanted to cut NASA's budget and that the government's money should be spent in technologies on Earth.