from the urls-we-dig-up dept
It’s been decades since a human being has traveled beyond low earth orbit. Last year, NASA tested its human-rated Space Launch System to an altitude of 3,600 miles, but getting people to a “human accessible surface” that isn’t part of the earth is going to take some time. China could have a taikonaut on the moon before 2030. NASA can say it’s “been there, done that” — but when will it be able to top a manned lunar landing?
- NASA is working on its (potentially Mars-bound) spacecraft, Orion — to get astronauts deeper into space. At the same time, NASA is also developing its Space Launch System (SLS) that will get Orion beyond low earth orbit, and if everything goes as planned the first manned crews will be taking off in 2023. [url]
- It might make sense to create a moon base as a pit stop before launching manned missions to more distant locations like Mars. If we can mine the moon for resources, that could reduce the expense of sending everything from the earth. However, it’ll take a bit longer to figure out how to process and manufacture anything on the moon, especially if it’s going to be done autonomously somehow. [url]
- NASA’s 2013 class of astronauts are being trained to possibly go to Mars. There are only 8 of these astronauts (and 4 of them are women), and presumably, their training on vomit comets will be pretty intense. [url]
- Making a trip to Mars in the near future is going to be expensive and probably controversial. Arguably, billions of dollars could be better spent to solve problems on Earth, and Mars is going to be around for quite some time. Still, it doesn’t hurt to make some goals and try to scope out potential landing sites on the red planet, does it? [url]
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