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Moon to Mars! NASA unveils plans for human presence in space

NASA shared its plan for lunar exploration to Mars, which will enable human deep space movement and exploration. Here’s what you need to know.

NASA is working on permanent human presence in space in the coming years. To better implement this idea, NASA has released a revised blueprint with 63 end goals for sustainable human presence and space exploration under the “Moon to Mars” plan. The goal is to send astronauts to the moon by 2024. Later, the agency will use the lessons from the lunar mission to prepare for humanity’s next great leap: sending astronauts to Mars. NASA’s plan covers four broad areas of moon-to-Mars exploration: science; transport and habitation; lunar and Mars infrastructure; and operations.

“We need a roadmap with lasting power, and through a collaborative process we have identified a core set of defined objectives to achieve our exploration goals with our partners. These goals are both practical and ambitious, and we’ve welcomed thoughtful contributions from our workforce, industry and international partners that will help us shape our future together,” said NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy.

The plan for human presence in space

NASA has set itself the goal of exploring the moon more extensively than ever before during the Artemis missions. The agency plans to send people back to the moon, including to the moon’s south polar zone. The Artemis I mission is currently on the launch pad, but will be detached. These lunar missions will accompany the upcoming exploration of more distant locations, such as Mars. NASA says the Artemis campaign demonstrates the capabilities and operations needed to safely conduct deep space science and exploration missions on the moon, which is closely related to Mars mission planning.

NASA plans to send the first humans with Artemis II back to the moon no earlier than 2024. NASA will test systems and ideas for the journey to and from Mars using elements of Artemis. Using the moon as a test bed will keep Mars’ follow-up campaign tied to the agency’s continued presence on the lunar surface.

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