WASHINGTON – NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said on July 15 that NASA, as it promotes the return of humans to the moon by 2024, will not rule out a first human mission to Mars as soon as 2033.
Bridenstines Commentaries, just before the end of a 45-minute meeting with reporters about the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 and the new Artemis program, are the latest sign that the agency has in recent weeks the human missions to Mars as a long-term goal attaches a new significance.
"We are currently working on a comprehensive plan for how we would carry out a Mars mission using the technologies we will be testing on the Moon," he said when asked about a feasible date Mission to Mars could take place as part of NASA's current exploration plan. "I'm not ready to rule out 2033 at all."
For many years, proponents of Martian exploration have suggested that Mars attempt to orbit the planet or land on its surface in 2033, pointing to a particularly favorable trajectory this year. Among those advocates was MP Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Who often brings a "Mars 2033" sticker to the House Science Committee hearings.
A report from the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI), as required by the Congress in the 201
Bridenstine's comments seemed to reject aspects of the STPI report. "I think there were assumptions in this report that maybe not everyone agrees," he said, such as the duration of surface visits. However, the STPI report only examined Mars orbital missions for 2033 or later in the decade.
"I think there are alternatives that will enable a Mars mission in 2033," he said. "I'm not saying that's on the agenda, what I mean by that is that NASA is looking forward to the fact that we've accelerated our way to the moon, so how does that speed our way to Mars? Look at those trades and see what's possible. "
Bridenstein's comments have been the strongest indication that NASA has continued to commit itself to human missions to Mars as soon as it can, even if it attempts to return Speed up people to the moon in 2024. While Bridenstine and the agency had generally stated that the Moon was a "test site" for missions to Mars, this accent has been increasing since President Tump's June 7 tweet criticizing NASA that she talks about going to the moon. "They should focus on the much bigger things we do, including Mars," he wrote, t overpower the long objective goal of the people to Mars. "I do not think we always do a good job in addressing the larger vision that this includes," said Scott Pace, executive secretary of the National Space Council, one day after the president's tweet at a conference. "He takes a step back and, I believe, expresses a very understandable impatience over how long it takes, and sometimes we miss the whole thing."
Bridenstine said in an interview with C-SPAN on July 12 that he had spoken with the President since that tweet. "I spoke to the president just a few weeks ago and he said very clearly," I know you have to go to the moon to get to Mars, but talk about Mars, "he said, noting that the president was calling Mars a "generational success that stimulates the imagination of the public." "He's absolutely right, so we'll continue to talk about why we're going to the moon: this is the test site for the mission to Mars."
July Bridenstine said he had last talked to the President about three weeks ago and about a week ago with Vice President Mike Pence, chairman of the National Space Council.
We all agree on that, "he said.