Discovery-guided people will be on their own on Mars,adapting because of light-time communication delays,said Dr.William Gerstenmaier,NASA Human Exploration and Operations Associate Administrator,at the Humans 2 Mars summit at George Washington University in April 2014.It's a kind of exploration we've never done before.We will always be able to adapt better than our robots,asking queations.Science has given us the questions to ask.Mars has never disappointed.It's a discovery engine,so let's keep going.*
Life-support systems must last for months on Mars,not 84 hours like the Apollo missions.It will take some time to get those technologies and breakthroughs ready.The space station is the proving ground-that's the key.The life-support system will be wrung out and tested on the station.We're testing not only the technologies,but looking at the requirements,such as radiation exposure:how much of a risk is acceptable?*
We do a lot of autonommous procedures on the station now,added Dr.Michael Gazarik,Associate Administrator of the Space Technology Mission Directorate.We will not reduce all the risk to zero,but to a reasonable level.*
Exploration is going and coming back.I think we're talking about pioneering,as moving human presence off the earth and into the solar system.It will take a combination of government,international partners and industry.It's got to be the whole of the agency and the international community pulling together,Dr.Gerstenmaier continued.The private sector has worked on engine development and water generators on the ISS.We've got to continue to look at that.
Solar electric propulsion is for entry,descent and landing on Mars.That is exclusively government.Companies can build their own labs in space,inspired by the ISS.A crew-tended module around the Moon will help us get ready for Mars,and there can be pre-positioning of equipment around Mars.The Chinese will be a key player somewhere along the line.
Eighty percent of the deep space software will be on Exploration Flight Test-1 in December,the Orion heat shield test mission.Modest investments are being made in nuclear thermal propulsion,which is generally considered the best system for reaching Mars.Solar electric propulsion is best for the Moon deep space mission and is championed by industry.
Multiple and pre-positioned modules can be used for habitation and descent to Mars.It will be done more over a number of years.It's not a single mission.It will be done in a sustainable,affordable way,Dr.Gerstenmaier explained.*
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