The Moon to Mars Plan: A possibility or fantasy?
President Bush placed the Mars missions high in his budgeting for the United States’ government, but when the budget grew tighter, cuts had to be made. The president, however, still strove to make Mars exploration possible. Although the Martian Rovers are continually discovering new information about the red planet, human trips still seem a thing of the distant future. But with Bush’s new plans, a trip from the Moon to Mars might make the expedition more possible.
Called the Vision for Space Exploration, the new plan works to “implement a sustained and affordable human and robotic program to explore the solar system and beyond; extend human presence across the solar system, starting with a human return to thee Moon by the year 2020, in preparation for human exploration of Mars and other destinations; develop the innovative technologies, knowledge, and infrastructures both to explore and to support decisions about the destinations for human exploration; and promote international and commercial participation in exploration to further U.S. scientific, security, and economic interests” . NASA plans to delegate certain tasks in order to complete their goals, though their plan lays out a specific implementation for flights to the moon. Their four-part plan spans three decades, slowly expanding exploration out over the solar system. Firstly, NASA focuses on the International Space Station and returning the Space Shuttle back to usage in space flight. Then, by 2008, NASA plans to “initiate a series of robotic missions to the Moon to prepare for and support future human exploration activities”, culminating in an extended human expedition to the Moon somewhere between 2015 and 20201. These explorations would be used to determine possibilities for future flights to Mars and other locations in the solar system. Trips to Mars, however, will only be considered after adequate knowledge about the planet, gained through robotic missions and other such experiments proving how life could be sustained for long periods of time without causing lasting damage to the human body. NASA third section of the plan devotes itself to the development of space transportation for missions that extend beyond Earth’s low orbit. Finally, NASA hopes to incorporate international and commercial participation into its projects.
In order to further these future explorations, NASA is focusing on the search for water on Mars, along with concentrating on the space bodies closest to Earth. NASA scientists believe that the Moon offers the ideal solution for helping further human space flight. One of the major obstacles NASA needs to overcome is the lack of gravity in Space; humans tend to react adversely to a decrease in gravitational force, as muscles lose mass, bones lose density, and the ability to balance slowly declines . Therefore, in 2006 a group of mice will be sent into orbit to test out a revolutionary...