How will NASA conquere Mars? It starts with the robots

For decades, NASA has been working to send humans to Mars. Now, the space agency has revealed a detailed plan for how to get there by the 2030s.

In a new report the space agency launched a three-stage program for developing the technology and logistics necessary to reach Mars and establish a sustainable colony on the planet’s surface. While there is no set date for a crewed mission, NASA scientists hope to have colonists working and living on Mars within the next few decades.

These three major phases will hopefully lead to an operational Mars colony. The first, titled the “Earth Reliant” stage, is already underway aboard the International Space Station as NASA continues to test new technologies that might make a deep-space mission possible.

NASA is also working on developing new ways to power and communicate with vessels destined for deep space, like solar-powered engines and lasers for rapid communications with Earth.

In the second stage, called “Proving Ground,” NASA will learn how to perform complex tasks during longer missions into deep space. They’ll venture beyond the space station, mainly working in the space around the moon. The goals for this stage include testing deep-space habitation facilities as well as capturing an asteroid and bringing it back into orbit.

The final “Earth Independent” stage will mark the launch of NASA’s first manned spacecraft to orbit Mars and eventually establish a Martian colony, Sarah Knapton reports for The Telegraph.

While the report lays out a road map for the years ahead, there is still a lot of work to be done before people can safely voyage to Mars. But according to NASA’s report, it will be worth the wait: “With humans on Mars, we will be able to advance science and technology in ways only dreamed of with current robotic explorers.”

Sources: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/heres-how-nasa-wants-get-mars-180956895/?no-ist
Image credit: http://www.science-et-vie.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Curiosity_NASA.jpg