NASA has been planning to get astronauts on Mars for quite a long time. Now, they have even revealed how they want to do that, by revealing the plans for their Deep Space Gateway. This project aims to bring humans to Mars by 2033.
The Deep Space Gateway will represent a spaceport which will host a crew aboard and it will start with orbits around the moon. Then, it will initiate several exploration missions. The program meets its glorious end when the Deep Space Gateway transports the crew on a mission to explore Mars.
Performing several exploration missions in space
This might sound incredible, but NASA is really serious about the development of this program. The first mission, Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1), will launch next year aboard their most powerful rocket, the Space Launch System. There will be a test flight first, without any crew aboard. However, this might be changed, depending on other results they might receive until the launch.
After that, the same rocket will transport Europa Clipper on a mission of the exploration of Europa, the moon of Jupiter. The Deep Space Gateway will continue, with the advanced rocket launching several components into space and preparing the way for the final mission on Mars.
How will the Deep Space Gateway look?
Unlike the International Space Station, which constantly has a crew aboard and orbits around Earth, this new spaceport is smaller, will orbit around the moon, and will host crew only when necessary. It will also contain a small habitat module, as well as other modules to use in research.
NASA says that the port is destined for the use of both governmental and private space agencies. If they have plans for a mission, agencies like SpaceX and Blue Origin are free to make use of the port and explore space. Bill Gerstenmaier, the chief of human space travel at NASA, hopes for a collaboration.
“I envision different partners, both international and commercial, contributing to the Gateway and using it in a variety of ways with a system that can move to different orbits to enable a variety of missions.”
NASA engaged in a huge experiment which would take a lot of resources. However, the success of such a mission would be an enormous achievement for space travel. The chance of the first humans to go on an exploration of Mars is now closer than ever.
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