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NASA May Conduct Yearlong Mission to the Moon in Preparation for 2030 Mars Mission

May 12, 2017 09:17 AM EDT
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In order to succeed in the ambitious mission to Mars, scientists and engineers deem it necessary to conduct a yearlong mission to the moon. Sending men to the moon for a year will test-drive NASA's ability to send humans to Mars. NASA made the announcement last May 9

During the Humans to Mars Summit in Washington D.C., Greg Williams, the NASA deputy associate administrator for policy plans of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, explained the actions involved in sending humans to Mars.

The moon will serve as a "deep-space" gateway for long-haul space exploration programs. The manned mission to the moon will prepare the agency for the mission to Mars and, possibly, in many other multi-planetary missions in the Solar System. During NASA's yearlong mission to the moon, the astronaut will test technologies that will also be deployed to Mars come 2030.

In the future, scientists and engineers are also considering the moon to became the launching point for human transport across planets. NASA's yearlong mission to the moon is slated to start in 2027 and it is considered to be one of the future milestones of the Journey to Mars.

Establishing a colony on Mars and sending a crewed mission to the red planet is not an easy feat. During the discussion, the NASA official said that there are at least five missions -- four of which are crewed -- to help deliver hardware, habitat and other necessities to Mars.

The last will use the Deep Space Transport that's capable of carrying humans to Mars. Currently, NASA partners are working with other companies to develop such technology.

"If we could conduct a yearlong crewed mission on this Deep Space Transport in cislunar space, we believe we will know enough that we could then send this thing, crewed, on a 1,000-day mission to the Mars system and back," Greg Williams of NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate said in a statement.

They call the mission the "shakedown" cruise. If this pushes through, the world will witness a new milestone -- a yearlong mission to the moon, before mankind finally set foot on Mars.

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