NASA, for their part, say they are still planning to send humans to Mars in the future, and recent rover missions to the planet are gathering data for that purpose. However, this all comes at a time when it has been decades since a manned moon mission, due to the extremely high costs and a plethora of practical issues.
Some private and commercial efforts to make progress on a manned mission to Mars – including the ill-fated Mars One initiative – have come and gone.
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Here’s why a human mission to Mars could still be 20-30 years away
Dr Philip Metzger, Planetary Scientist at the Florida Space Institute, told Futureproof he believes a human mission to Mars is likely still 20-30 years away. Nonetheless, the advent of ‘reusable’ rockets and the slow move towards commercial space travel are among the developments that started to change the economic and practical outlook of space travel.
He said: “I think 20 years is at the beginning of the window where I would expect it to happen. I don’t think we’re going to get there before 20 years – it might actually take 30 years. But I think we are on a trajectory now. However, he believes progress is being made despite the many challenges yet to be overcome.
The dust problem “We’ve got a lot of organisations focused on getting us to Mars. The technology is making dramatic progress, and the cost of spaceflight is coming way down.” He noted that further trips to the moon will help offer answers to some of the problems – although some solutions, such as the use of solar power, will not work as well for Mars.
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