NASA may not be able to land the first man on planet Mars by 2030. NASA employee William H. Gerstenmaier said that the organization has no funding to make the dream a reality.
He also highlighted another, bigger problem – they do not know how to mount something as big and heavy as a spacecraft that needs to carry human cargo on the Martian surface.
Mars missions have always been very difficult. So far, there have been 16 attempts to land a spaceship on Mars; but only seven were successful. All of these experiments were performed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The EU's attempt to land on Mars failed in October last year.
Professor Jack Burns, who works on NASA's transition team, said Mar's weather is not suitable for landing at all. It has an atmospheric pressure of about 1
Image: NASA JPL
NASA's Opportunity Rover used inflated airbags from the Bounce surface. The Curiosity Rover uses the most sophisticated landing technique ever used – called the "Sky Crane". After the parachutes slowed down the capsule, special rockets were fired to position the Sky Crane at a height that brought the lander to the surface.
All landing systems on Mars had a mass of less than 2 tons. For a manned mission, this mass would be between 10 and 15 tons. As of now, there is no concrete solution to safely land so much mass on the Martian surface.
NASA could build a Mars orbiting mission before landing the landing mission.
The private company SpaceX is currently testing its kite spacecraft to land on Mars by 2020. If successful, NASA will beat it to land the heaviest object on Mars surface. We hope that SpaceX does all its calculations correctly.
Space enthusiasts may consider the Mars 2020 Rover, which will enhance our knowledge of setting up life support systems on distant planets. Another major challenge to investigate is the ability of the human body to make space flights lasting several months.
Source: Popular Mechanics