In a meet of American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronauts held on July 12, NASA admitted that the US space agency cannot afford to land humans on Mars. NASA has been in news for years now regarding its Mars mission and the future possibility of sending humans on the red planet.
However, it’s not that easy, especially with “too little funds”. “I can’t put a date on humans on Mars, and the reason really is…at the budget level we described, this roughly two per cent increase, we don’t have the surface systems available for Mars,” said NASA’s chief of human spaceflights William Gerstenmaier, Ars Technica reported. (see video)
“And that entry, descent, and landing is a huge challenge for us for Mars.”
The future Mars projects, which includes building Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft is costing too much to the space agency. As a result, NASA has not been able to begin deigning vehicles to land on Mars or ascend the surface, according to the report.
Meanwhile, private companies such as SpaceX and blue Origins are preparing for Mars landing mission. In fact, SpaceX founder Elon Musk had earlier announced to build human colonies on Mars, and its aim to land humans on the planet in 2025.
Earlier, Vice President Mike Pence had hinted on “commercial space”—a kind of contracting NASA used to fund its commercial cargo and crew programs. "The truth is that American business is on the cutting edge of space technology," he had said.
However, Gerstenmaier, opened the door to the possibility of landing humans on Moon again as NASA has the “support to extensive Moon surface program”.
“If we find out there’s water on the Moon, and we want to do more extensive operations on the Moon to go explore that, we have the ability with Deep Space Gateway to support an extensive Moon surface program,” he said. “If we want to stay focused more toward Mars we can keep that.”