Monday, 25 September, 2017

NASA Can't Afford its Planned Manned Mars Mission

EnlargeNASA EnlargeNASA
Frank Williams | 15 July, 2017, 14:52

The chief of Nasa's programme on human exploration of space, William Gerstenmaier, was quoted by Newsweek as saying that with its current budget, the agency can not afford the cost of propelling a manned spacecraft to Mars.

The confession came during Wednesday's propulsion meeting of the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics. However, NASA recently announced that they won't be able to get humans to Mars due to their current budget.

The reason, he said, is that "at the budget levels we described, this roughly 2 percent increase, we don't have the surface systems available for Mars".

And he said the budget was to blame, since it didn't allow for descent and landing.

Other technology used for a Mars mission, the Orion Craft and Space Launch System, reportedly ate the budget. As a result, NASA has not been able to begin deigning vehicles to land on Mars or ascend the surface, according to the report. Private companies, such as SpaceX and Blue Origin, are also planning Mars landing missions, and won't be restricted by the same financial constraints that are holding Nasa back. SpaceX founder Elon Mask has even announced plans to make human colonies on Mars aims to send humans to the red planet in 2025.

The other Trump-Macron handshake everyone's talking about
To judge from the reactions in the video, it's safe to say that his US counterpart did not quite share in that feeling. President Donald Trump was the guest of honor at the parade, and French and American flags were prominent throughout.

Mr Gerstenmaier's admission comes just days after Vice President Mike Pence said that the United States will "usher in a new era" of American space leadership, but budget cuts for Nasa from the Trump Administration seem to have taken its toll.

However, since NASA has the "support to extensive Moon surface program", Gerstenmaier opened the door to the possibility of landing humans on Moon again.

He said that with the Deep Space Gateway they have the ability to support an extensive Moon surface program.

At the time Lightfoot said he found that U.S. president Donald Trump was supportive of its goal to get humans to Mars, despite the $500m budget cut.

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