NASA‘s long-term goal is to get to Mars, and while it could still be decades away, the space agency is beginning to build hype now. NASA has released a concept image of how life on Mars might be for future humans to pique space farers interest. The image shows an astronaut stood in one of the huge canyons of Mars, with a base in the distance.
NASA said: “This artist’s concept shows an astronaut on Mars, as viewed through the window of a spacecraft. NASA is returning astronauts to the Moon and will test technology there that will be useful for sending the first astronauts to the Red Planet.”
Before NASA gets humans to Mars, it first has to get people to the Moon for the first time since 1972 in 2024 as part of the Artemis mission.
The first astronauts to make it to the lunar surface would be tasked with helping to create a Moon colony and laboratory, which would act as a stepping point to Mars.
The base would be used as a checkpoint between Earth and Mars while also allowing astronauts to study the Moon in close detail.
NASA Mars mission: THIS is how astronauts could live on the Red Planet
A sunset on Mars
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine made the announcement, saying he wants to set up a lunar colony and called on “the best and brightest” of American industry to help design and develop “human lunar landers”.
While little has been released on how humans will live on Mars, NASA has already started working on communication systems.
Construction has now started on a 112-foot dish (34-meter-wide), which workers are building in Goldstone, California, which will eventually form part of an array of telescopes.
NASA has classically relied on radio waves to communicate with its machines throughout the solar system, but these waves take an average of 13 minutes to travel what can be up to 271 million mile journey to the Red Planet – depending on where Earth and Mars are in their respective orbits.
This could prove to be too long if hypothetically astronauts on Mars are in the midst of an emergency.
Moon landing timeline
Lasers, however, provide almost instantaneous communication, and also allow for much larger data sets to be transferred.
The project is part of NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN) and the space agency described the satellite, called DSS-23, as “critical” for future Mars missions.
NASA said: “While DSS-23 will function as a radio antenna, it will also be equipped with mirrors and a special receiver for lasers beamed from distant spacecraft.
“This technology is critical for sending astronauts to places like Mars.
“Humans there will need to communicate with Earth more than NASA’s robotic explorers do, and a Mars base, with its life support systems and equipment, would buzz with data that needs to be monitored.”