This Way to Mars: How Technologies Borrowed from Robotic Missions Could Deliver Astronauts to Deep Space
By adapting ideas from robotic planetary exploration, the human space program could get astronauts to asteroids and Mars cheaply and quickly
NASA now has the best opportunity in a generation to refocus itself on new types of space vehicles that reach into interplanetary space. The greatest barriers to space exploration are not technical but a matter of figuring out how to do more with less. If NASA plans an incremental sequence of technology development and missions of steadily increasing ambition, human spaceflight can break free of low Earth orbit for the first time in 40 years and enter its most exciting era ever. With flexible planning, NASA can forge a path to wander among the wandering stars.
This article was originally published with the title This Way to Mars.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Damon Landau is an outer-planet mission analyst at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). He helped to design the trajectory for NASA's recently launched Juno mission to Jupiter and worked on the agency's survey of near-Earth asteroids that astronauts might visit. Nathan J. Strange is a JPL mission architect. He was on the navigation team for the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and collaborated on the design of the gravity-assist tour of Saturn's moons. He has worked on technical blueprints for future human missions.