Experts Anticipate Traffic Jam on Mars in 2021 -- Will There Be Repercussions?
Everyone is Mars-bound in the next few years. The capability of reaching the red planet is no longer a question but rather when. Experts even argued that with the number of private and government agencies aiming for the red planet, there could be a traffic jam on Mars come 2021.
One thing to note is the increased number of landers and rovers that are set to arrive on Mars. This is not entirely a bad thing. However, those that won't succeed and will die on the mission might be left as space trash and that may even cause a certain level of contamination. Also, regulating these spacecraft to avoid collision is a concern for NASA.
But that's not stopping deep space exploration programs to build spacecraft fit for the Martian climate. A study suggests that every 26 months, it is best to launch a mission to Mars when Mars and Earth are aligned.
This also means that the best possible time to reach the planet will come in July to August 2020, according to Popular Mechanics. So everyone with a Martian ambition is working towards making that window in 2020 including NASA, Elon Musk, China, Boeing and many other.
Anyone who will make it to the 2020 window is likely to arrive on the planet by 2021. The window explains why there would be traffic on Mars. However, regulating the traffic may be NASA's problem after all. The agency is expected to direct and serve as a communicating center for all the spacecraft and agencies that are aiming for Mars.
Just like how a control tower communicates with planes that are about to land and lift off, someone has to do it but the "airport" is on Mars. Only it will be millions of miles away from the planet. Some unmanned missions gearing towards Mars in the 2020 window includes NASA's Mars 2020 rover, China. Europe, ISRO, and even UAE. NASA is already anticipating the traffic jam, according to Aviation Week.
Since orbiters on Mars have grown in number, NASA had been monitoring to avoid collisions. And if most of the missions successfully launch in 2020, NASA will have its hands full with trying to avoid any collisions on the red planet.