Human’s manned space missions are still limited to low-Earth orbit, for decades. However, NASA is eyeing on something more these days. While speaking about the possibility of their return to the moon as well as their mission of landing on Mars, NASA has declared a timeline with an objective to realize their space goals. Their mission starts with expanding the commercial launch capabilities, and gradually landing on the moon. Once these missions are completed successfully, NASA’s grand plan would be reaching Mars with a crew. Although they have laid a practical plan of reaching the red planet, it is nowhere as overconfident as Elon Musk may sound.
The procedure of going to space has transformed a lot, courtesy of the ever evolving technology. The Commercial Crew Program, being the first step towards the space revolution. It is expected that both SpaceX and Boeing would start carrying astronauts to the International Space Station in a matter of the next two years. This would be the first step towards the introduction of any non-NASA operated company to carry out such a humongous activity. NASA also believes that it would play a role in promoting more public-private missions around the Earth’s orbit.
NASA, however won’t let go of its space station game. In its newly released space timeline, NASA has put emphasis on its return to the moon. Almost 50 years have passed since men walked on the moon’s surface. And while they were there for 16 days, NASA’s astronauts could explore only six sites on the moon. NASA plans a different lunar exploration this time, as they focus on entirely different objectives. According to the organization’s planning, the process of developing the moon base is expected to start by 2023.
The base has been initially named as “The Gateway”. It signifies itself to be the gateway to the rest of our solar system. The base is planned to consist of four parts. With power and propulsion to be one part of the base, the other parts are habitation & utility, logistics & robot arm, as well as an airlock section. Significantly, the power and propulsion module has already been put into construction in numerous facilities across the United States of America. It is expected to launch in 2022, while the habitation module would reach the moon, a year later. NASA has planned to send the last two modules onto moon before 2024.
There’s not much detail available about NASA’s manned mission in the red planet. However, it has planned to launch a new Mars rover in 2020. This spacecraft would decide the agency’s future in terms of carrying out manned missions in Mars.