NASA’s plans for the 2030 Mars human landing are being bolstered by Martian resources, new tools, and technologies used to sustain astronauts on the red planet.
NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Directorate is considering what science experiments will be conducted upon landing and the conditions in which they will be performed.
Many experts are pushing for a new Mars orbiter to launch. If approved, this next-generation orbiter might go out as soon as 2022. It would be an orbiter with advanced telecommunications, a much powerful radar, and electric propulsion.
A telecommunication orbiter is currently under construction, although there is no official mission planned for 2022.
Last year scientists proposed approximately 50 Mars locations for the future landing.
People need perfect touchdown sites for landing and carrying out operations. A good site will also provide Martian resources for the new explorers to use. NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is on its new mission called HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) to take new pictures of the elected landing zones.
Any of these 50 locations must allow astronauts access to least 110 tons of water.
Last month NASA made public the Mars Water In-Situ Resource Utilization Planning Study (ISRU) report which looks into ways the exploration crew could tap into water resources on Mars.
Water on Mars would be utterly transformative for the planet. It would provide drinking sources and crops cultivation; it would offer processed breathable air and oxygen to propel vehicles.
The report has ruled the extraction of water from Mars’ atmosphere out because of the immense complexity of such a system. Being a reconnaissance mission, this approach would go beyond this a practical deployment.
They would need mass, power, volume and complex mechanics. With Mars’s density of water being so low, “it would take a massive processing system” said Richard Davis, assistant director of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.
But a possible water extraction method would be mining Mars for ice deposits. The method implies drilling a hole, vaporizing surface ice, bringing the stuff up as a gas and condensing it into liquid.
What they want is to make the Martian resources and environment work for us, not against us.
There are many technical problems to consider when approaching the Martian resources for future explorations (like the mass and power of the equipment required), but for NASA’s assistant director David, what will make this colonization possible in the year 2030 will the people’s belief in it.
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