In a column published Tuesday on the website of CNN, us president barack obama detailed his plan to conquer the red planet by the 2030s. It intends to collaborate with the private sector to make “the giant leap” toward the colonization of Mars.
In the wake of the conference, Elon Musk, boss of SpaceX, at the end of September, Barack Obama is in turn expressed on the conquest of Mars. In a column published Tuesday on the website of CNN, the us president has confirmed his willingness to rely on a close collaboration with the private sector to do “the giant step” towards the red planet. “We have set a clear goal for the next chapter in the history of America in space: to send humans to Mars in the 2030s and return them to Earth in safety”, he stated, in particular. However, the ultimate goal remains, according to him, “one day be able to stay on this planet for a long time”.
The us president announced a collaboration with the private sector to build new vessels that can accommodate and transport astronauts on missions of long duration in deep space”. “These missions will enable us to understand how humans can live away from the Earth, something that we will need for the long trip to Mars”, he adds. The White House has indicated that six companies, including Boeing and Lockheed Martin, were selected this summer for the manufacture of prototypes for modules of housing beyond the suburbs of the Earth where flies the international space station. They will receive a total of $ 65 million in the next two years. These habitable spaces may be constructed on a planet, such as Mars, or used in spaceships that will carry astronauts on long journeys in space.
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Transport water and food, a major challenge
One of the main logistical challenges will be able to carry enough food and water for trips of several months, or even years. And little research has been done on the subject until now. Entitled “America will make the giant leap to Mars”, the tribune, Barack Obama is an allusion to the phrase mythical presentation given on July 21, 1969 by Neil Armstrong, upon his arrival on the Moon: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”.
“But the first small step occurs when our students, the generation March, go to class every day”, still remember the american president. Because the experts are unanimous: to reach the red planet, which lies at a distance of 225 million km from Earth, and live there, will require a technical feat and a budget immense.
billionaire Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, presented at the end of September its project aimed at establishing a “city” on Mars, sending humans to the edge of the large vessels equipped with cabins, at a price of $ 100,000 per person. He said he was “optimistic” on the possibility to send the first manned mission in 2024, which will arrive on Mars the following year. But SpaceX is not the only company to dream to send humans to Mars. Blue Origin, founded by the ceo of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, has just revealed its plans to construct a huge rocket called the New Glenn. However, he noted that the goal of reaching Mars could take several decades.
easier Access to the international space Station
in addition, the second element of the plan unveiled Tuesday by Barack Obama, intended to encourage private companies to use the international space Station (ISS), which orbits the Earth at 400 km altitude. The recent installation of a new docking port on the ISS must thus allow more vessels private to join the orbital outpost. And after the end of the current missions, in 2020, it could serve as a forward base to private companies to build other space stations.
Barack Obama is pushing since a long time the projects aimed to send men to Mars, and it had angered many republicans during his first term by cancelling a Nasa program to return men to the Moon, as he wanted to focus on trips further afield to the place. The u.s. space Agency is currently developing a powerful rocket (Space Launch System) and a capsule for long journeys, Orion. The first launch of the SLS, without a person aboard, is planned for 2018, and a mission to send men beyond the Moon, but not until March, is the programme to the horizon 2020.