The Future of NASA

NASA’s upcoming missions

Even with the increasing sci-fi movies, NASA has been quietly working on their next project, developing technology capable of sending humans to an asteroid by 2025 and Mars in the 2030s.

Currently, the world’s eyes are set on Mars as the first main destination of human exploration and expansion of the human race. The red planet is closest in distance to Earth and its development is teaching us more about our own planet. The discovery of hints of water on Mars has led some to believe that Mars may have been Earth-like in the past or is slowly but surely developing an environment suitable for life. Either way, the current goal of NASA would be to send humans to Mars, a twelve month journey there and back (not including the actual stay and study at Mars). NASA is focusing their efforts on making the mission shorter, having enough resources such as food and fuel for a trip of that length and technology which would last and continue working efficiently.

The more immediate goal of NASA is to send a robotic mission to redirect an asteroid to orbit the moon where astronauts could explore it and bring samples back to Earth. This mission will not only help astronomers understand asteroids better, but will also function as a trial to test technology like the Solar Electric Propulsion (which will be necessary to send cargo on the human Mars mission).
Robots have been exploring Mars for the past 40 years and these rovers have helped us understand the environment on Mars and how it might affect humans (such as “weather” conditions and radiation), but sending humans to Mars is the next and main goal of space exploration. Never before have humans visited another planet and such exploration would signify another major step for the future of mankind.