The ultimate goal of decades of Mars research is to make the human foot touch this planet. After the Apollo missions to the Moon in the sixties and seventies, mankind was expected to go to Mars after a while, but due to budget constraints, this could not happen. Yet NASA had a rocket, Saturn V, to send people to Mars even at that time.
For forty years, Mars missions have been postponed and space exploration has focused on placing spacecraft, satellites and space stations in Earth orbit. Now Mars is on the agenda again and we will use the latest technologies to reach it.
NASA is currently busy building the rocket, called the Space Launch System (SLS), the successor to Saturn V. According to estimates, an SLS carrying the Orion capsule in 2020 will take astronauts back to asteroids near the Moon and the Earth. The next step is either to go to Mars’ satellites Phobos or Deimos, or to set foot directly on the surface of Mars in 2030.
Another vehicle to take mankind to Mars could be SpaceX’s Starship. This rocket, which replaces Falcon Heavy, which takes Tesla into space and is no longer intended for manned missions, will be the main vehicle SpaceX will use in the 2020s. After a few experimental missions, it seems that he will be ready for a mission that will go to Mars.
Meanwhile, in the next decade other countries can also implement bold Mars plans. China, for example, is working on a rocket that will take a heavy spacecraft out of Earth’s orbit that can take a six-month journey.
Although it may be theoretically possible to send people to another planet, in order to realize this, there is a great need for international support from private companies. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s bold and risky plan is to take people to Mars, but no turning back. Will humanity ever set foot on Mars?