NASA working on manned mission to Mars

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is preparing for a manned mission to Mars, the American space agency’s chief scientist, Ellen R Stofan, has said. 


Stofan, who was in Bengaluru at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) and ISRO on Thursday, said, “I believe it’s time now to take humans to Mars. NASA is already making preparations. We expect to put the first astronaut on Mars around 2030.” 

Stating that preparations are complex and concentrated, she said, “We are looking at how human body will endure an eight-month travel to Mars, then stay there, and the journey back home over eight months again. Then, we will explore whether the human body can cope with microgravity pressures. We need to mitigate all these.

Other issues NASA is taking up in relation to the human body are the creation of exercise patrols, nutritional balance, salt intake and more. The objective is to ensure safe flights and living conditions for astronauts. Every little detail has to be worked on.” 

Food, sleep, activities at night and day, temperatures and atmosphere are all being simulated in a training programme under way at NASA, Stofan told Deccan Herald.

Stofan said exploration of planets and planetary systems is at the heart of NASA’s goal to understand planets in their cores. More directly, she said, the idea behind studying planets is “to look at whether there is life out on any planet and or whether humans can settle, reside and lead life on any planet”. 

Mars, at the moment, seems the first planet where a possible human settlement can occur. This, however, has to be established by studying various conditions on Mars by simulating them on earth. 

Astro-biologists and geologists play a key role in this. The research on planets is also being undertaken to explore presence of water—which can reveal whether life ever existed on Mars or on any other planet.

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