After the Moon in 2024, NASA wants to reach Mars by 2033

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine (L)—seen here at the US space agency's headquarters in November 2018—says the acceleration of
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine (L)—seen here at the US space agency's headquarters in November 2018—says the acceleration of the calendar for a new Moon mission is "aggressive" but doable, and vital for any future Mars mission

NASA has made it clear they want astronauts back on the Moon in 2024, and now, they are zeroing in on the Red Planet—the US space agency confirmed that it wants humans to reach Mars by 2033.

Jim Bridenstine, NASA's administrator, said Tuesday that in order to achieve that goal, other parts of the program—including a —need to move forward more quickly.

"We want to achieve a Mars landing in 2033," Bridenstine told lawmakers at a congressional hearing on Capitol Hill.

"We can move up the Mars landing by moving up the Moon landing. The Moon is the proving ground," added the former Republican congressman, who was appointed by President Donald Trump.

NASA is racing to enact the plans of Trump, who dispatched Vice President Mike Pence to announce that the timetable for once again putting man on the Moon had been cut by four years to 2024.

The new date is politically significant: it would be the final year in Trump's eventual second term at the White House.

Many experts and lawmakers are concerned that NASA cannot make the deadline, especially given the major delays in development of its new heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System, which is being built by aerospace giant Boeing.

Any mission to Mars would take at least two years, given the distance to be traveled. Getting there alone would take six months, as opposed to the three days needed to reach the Moon.

A round trip to Mars can only take place when the Red Planet is positioned on the same side of the Sun as Earth—that occurs about every 26 months, so the dates are 2031, 2033, and so on.

In 2017, a NASA budget bill set 2033 as the target date for the first manned mission to Mars, but NASA itself has talked about the "2030s" in its roadmap.

NASA wants to learn how to extract and use the tons of ice at the Moon's south pole.

"Water ice represents air to breathe, it represents water to drink, it represents fuel," Bridenstine said.

"The intent of course is to not just get humans to the surface of the Moon but prove that we can live and work on another world."

Democratic lawmaker Eddie Bernice Johnson, the chair of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, asked Bridenstine to put a price tag on the new schedule.

The NASA chief said he would make his updated budget request by April 15.


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Apr 02, 2019
SpaceX is likely to be ready 5 years before that. The SLS is the first launch vehicle made entirely of pork.

Apr 02, 2019
"We want to achieve a Mars landing in 2033," Bridenstine told lawmakers at a congressional hearing on Capitol Hill.


Sounds great! But it is one thing to talk the talk and another to walk the walk. The orbital mechanics for 2033 are very favorable and I understand this has been the internal working date at NASA for a long time. But to be candid, it is going to take a serious realignment of NASA priorities, significantly increased funding and closer than ever cooperation with SpaceX, but I still believe it is achievable. If done properly, I also believe the world will revel in the achievement of putting people on Mars in a way that is hard to imagine today. People want to be part of something great, not just waiting around for dystopia to hit.

Alternatively, we can continue pretending we will get beyond LEO again and inspire exactly nobody.

Apr 02, 2019
Vast majority of people on planet wouldn't believe it.

Apr 02, 2019
Nuke the worthless ISS out of orbit now, NASA and the U.S. might have the money to do this. However, junky chemical rockets while being acceptable to go to the Moon (though it'll cost $400B this time, compared to $40B in the 60's) but a successful Mars mission where you don't get everyone killed will need nuclear propulsion, ideally Project Orion explosive propulsion. All these other technologies are worthless from "solar sails" to ion engines.

Apr 03, 2019
Nuke the worthless ISS out of orbit now...

TB, where the heck do NASA and other space agencies obtain the information, knowledge and experience required for successful medium to long term survival of people and hardware in space - such as on a 6 month voyage to Mars, a year there, and another 6 months return journey - without the ISS as a laboratory and test facility for achieving this? Sure, a suitable propulsion vehicle will be necessary to get them there and back, but that is just one aspect of the requirements for a survivable Mars mission.

Apr 03, 2019
TB, did you ever watch Star Trek? In that imagined future, spaceports are often gigantic and elaborate structures. Spacecraft of all shapes and sizes go to spaceports for everything from exchanging personnel to getting supplies to serious repair work. They tend to be very busy places necessary for supporting robust space exploration by a veritable fleet of spacecraft. There is no reason ISS can't be our first spaceport. We have to start somewhere.

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