NASA sets up new office to help land humans on Mars
It is also tasked with helping the agency set up a long-term presence on the Moon
NASA has set up a new Moon to Mars Program Office at its headquarters in Washington to help prepare the agency’s human spaceflight missions to the Moon and beyond.
According to NASA administrator, the office will help the agency carry out bold missions, including landing the first humans on the Moon.
It is also tasked with helping the agency set up a long-term presence on the Moon.
The Moon to Mars Program Office will focus on hardware development, mission integration, and risk management for programs that will be critical to NASA’s space exploration approach.
This includes work on the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, Orion spacecraft and the Artemis program’s ground support systems, human landing systems, spacesuits and more. It will also lead the planning and analysis for developments to support human Mars missions.
Amit Kshatriya, who served as acting deputy associate administrator for the agency’s Common Exploration Development will serve as the agency’s first head of the new office.
In 2022, NASA had shared its early plans to send astronauts to Mars for 30 days, which included a set of high-level draft objectives.
The space agency aims to send astronauts to the red planet by the late 2030s or early 2040s, which is a challenging feat, to put it mildly.
The large spacecraft used for the journey will have to be like a habitat so that the astronauts can have a safe, healthy and comfortable journey from the moment they leave Earth to the time when they touch back down.
Before the actual mission starts, there is a chance that the space agency will send a separate robotic mission that will deliver many of the essential supplies and hardware.
These will wait for the astronauts on Mars till they land. This could include a fueled ascent vehicle to help the astronauts get off the surface of Mars and into an orbit around the planet