NASA Administrator Announces Mars Mission; Stresses Importance of ISS
April 8, 2011 7:30 AM
NASA plans to explore Mars sometime in the 2030's
recently announced that it has committed to a manned mission to Mars at an unspecified point in the future, and that the International Space Station will be a crucial part of reaching that goal.
Charles Bolden, NASA administrator, announced the Mars mission to a group of educators, scientists, astronauts and industry members at the International Space Station and Mars Conference on April 6. The conference is a two-day event that is presented by Explore Mars at George Washington University. Explore Mars promotes the search for technology that aids in the exploration of Mars.
Bolden discussed the use of the International Space Station as a research and testing facility for future Mars expeditions, noting that such a
voyage to our neighbor in the solar system
would serve as "inspiration for a whole new generation."
"I know my granddaughters will be witnessing humans
arriving at Mars
," said Bolden. "Like the President, I believe such a journey is possible in my lifetime. But what I know today is that we have an amazing engineering resource in space right now - the International Space Station. and we're moving out on the innovation and technological breakthroughs that are required to get us to our neighboring planet."
The International Space Station was built in 1998, and was the result of five space agencies representing 15 countries. This space station took $100 billion to construct and is the largest structure made in space by humans.
"Over the next 10 years, we'll continue to collaborate with other nations to live and work together in space, and perform cutting edge research and technology demonstrations that are critical to eventual exploration into deep space with humans," said Bolden. "The ISS is the most realistic analog we have to
test life support
and other technologies, ensuring they function in space, and most importantly, that they are reliable.
"Any mission to Mars is likely to be a global effort. The ISS is a blend of goals among the participating space agencies, and it is truly beautiful in that regard alone."
Bolden mentioned that NASA plans to explore Mars sometime in the 2030's, but plan to travel to an asteroid as soon as 2015. In addition, NASA hopes to keep the International Space Station open until at least 2020.
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