US government to NASA: Get humans to Mars by 2033

By William Gayde · 55 replies
Mar 11, 2017
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  1. This week Congress passed a huge funding bill that gives NASA $19.5 billion for space exploration and presented it to the president. The NASA Authorization Act of 2017 is focused on transforming NASA back into the great scientific organization it was during the Apollo Program. The bill authorizes NASA programs like the Space Station, deep space exploration, and asteroid redirect missions for 2017. Also included in the bill is a mandate for human space travel to Mars in 2033.

    As part of the mission, Congress has asked NASA to create an "initial human exploration roadmap" by December 2017. The roadmap, which NASA has been working on for a while, is a step by step guide on how to get to Mars. It includes ever expanding stages of space travel starting with low-Earth orbit, then cislunar space, and culminating in the mission to Mars. NASA calls these stages "Earth Reliant", "Proving Ground", and "Earth Independent."

    The full report is as follows:

    SEC. 435. MARS 2033 REPORT.

    (a) In General.—Not later than 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall contract with an independent, non-governmental systems engineering and technical assistance organization to study a Mars human space flight mission to be launched in 2033.

    (b) Contents.—The study shall include—

    (1) a technical development, test, fielding, and operations plan using the Space Launch System, Orion, and other systems to successfully launch such a Mars human space flight mission by 2033;

    (2) an annual budget profile, including cost estimates, for the technical development, test, fielding, and operations plan to carry out a Mars human space flight mission by 2033; and

    (3) a comparison of the annual budget profile to the 5-year budget profile contained in the President’s budget request for fiscal year 2017 under section 1105 of title 31, United States Code.

    (c) Report.—Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report on the study, including findings and recommendations regarding the Mars 2033 human space flight mission described in subsection (a).

    (d) Assessment.—Not later than 60 days after the date the report is submitted under subsection (c), the Administrator shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress an assessment by the NASA Advisory Council of whether the proposal for a Mars human space flight mission to be launched in 2033 is in the strategic interests of the United States in space exploration.

    NASA has often been criticized for being slow to adapt to change and advancements in technology. They have their old ways of doing things and are traditionally very hesitant to explore new options. This has given rise to the private space industry and companies like SpaceX.

    Elon Musk, SpaceX's CEO, has a vision of launching a probe to Mars in 2018, a reusable rocket by 2022, and finally sending humans to Mars by 2025. Musk believes that "there is a strong humanitarian argument for making life multiplanetary in order to safeguard the existence of humanity."

    Ever since Apollo 11, NASA has had its sights set on Mars as the new final frontier. The Curiosity and 2020 rovers are key tools in discovering what resources Mars has to offer. This funding bill and Mars mandate has the space community rejoicing; and for good reason. We're one step closer to what will arguably be the greatest event in human exploration, ever.

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  2. ForgottenLegion

    ForgottenLegion TS Addict Posts: 145   +133

    Divert a decent portion of those defence funds to NASA and they'll deliver the unimaginable.
    Reehahs, jmjsquared, Kotters and 6 others like this.
  3. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,664   +1,949

    Still want to find water on Mars?


    Who really needs us there?


    After all, our legacy is well known...

  4. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

  5. captainload

    captainload TS Member Posts: 26   +23

    So does this mean that NASA's primary mission is no longer reaching out to Muslims as Obama decreed?
  6. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,717   +857

    About time...they could have done this a decade after Apollo 11.
    H3llion and ForgottenLegion like this.
  7. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,339   +1,986

    Soooooo ..... the mandate is to get humans to Mars .... how about bringing them back? Or maybe building a space station at the 1/2 way point so they have a rest stop and potty break?
  8. Nero7

    Nero7 TS Maniac Posts: 274   +104

    Who needs planets when we could build a Deathstar?
    Makson and Tanstar like this.
  9. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,318   +1,404

    Because planets orbit around the sun the planets change position constantly, there is no halfway point.
  10. Igrecman

    Igrecman TS Maniac Posts: 212   +123

    2033??? ... 16 years away?
    When JFK made his famous "We choose to go to the Moon" speech in September 62, he was giving NASA only 7 years and 3 months to make it happen with the primitive technology of that era. That they made it in such a short time is so incredible that it's main reason some people think it was totally faked, or partly faked.

    With today's technology, it shouldn't take more than 8 years to achieve a feat much more difficult. They obviously aren't in a hurry since there's no cold war anymore to prove that Capitalism is the best.
    skribat likes this.
  11. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,318   +1,404

    The apollo missions took about 3 days to get to the moon. Currently it takes our ships anywhere between 150-300 days to get there. It's not that easy....
    Reehahs, mbrowne5061 and Kotters like this.
  12. willie48

    willie48 TS Rookie

    I hope advocates of Mars colonization can distinguish metaphoric meanings from literal meanings. “To safe guard the existence of Humanity” is the anthropocentric expression of “To safe guard the existence of a viable biosphere with some competent specie of H. sapien as an integral component”. Contemporary Humans have yet to demonstrate competency of biosphere management on their own world. The present rate of world resource exploitation, toxic pollution, and over population is unsustainable. For the majority of humans, their nature is greedy, narcissistic, short sighted authoritarian types (sub specie). As their luck runs out, an extinction event seems inevitable. But the varieties of “sapiens” is wide. Maybe there is an adaptable minority . If so, they would be found at the periphery.

    Even in controlled settings managed by scientists, viable biospheres have yet to be understood. University of Arizona attempted to build a closed “Biosphere” in the ‘90s. But they ran out of air and became over run with **** roaches. They had a 200 million dollar budget.

    One would think that some billionaire with serious Martian aspirations, or even a streak of biophilia, would invest in advanced biosphere experiments hear on Earth before sending up “human colonies”. But that would require the genetic capacity to incorporate a morality of deep ecology, along with the evolution of the practical morality itself that would adapt the survivors to this very new environment of advanced technology. This would involve a speciation event. Not exactly Mayberry.
    Makson and Reehahs like this.
  13. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,339   +1,986

    Seriously? 50% of any distance, no matter if it is greater or lesser, is still "half way" .......
  14. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,890   +1,224

    Actually - one idea is to use the moon as a way point. And yes - it would be hard to figure out how to travel between the orbits of Earth/moon/Mars, but that's why they called it Rocket Science.

    There are some really big challenges to overcome - least of which is what happens to humans without gravity. And when you're on Mars, it takes 45 mins to send a signal to Earth, so there won't be any 'Houston, we have a problem' It'll be... 'By the time you hear this we might be dead.'
    mcborge likes this.
  15. jamesrdr

    jamesrdr TS Rookie

    Yes, there's a halfway (it does move around though). The point is that it's not worth putting a space station there. One of the big misconceptions about space travel is that once you're actually in space it's not difficult to get around. Orbital mechanics is free of pretty much all forces, apart from gravity - it takes (comparatively) very little energy or calculation to get long distances once you're in orbit.
    Building an intermediate space station, on the other hand, requires a lot of time and investment, and simply isn't worth the payoff unless you're planning to ferry lots of people and resources. And the more missions you have, the more likely things are to go wrong.
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,002   +2,532

    I guess the funding for this will come after the Republicans repeal "Obamacare"...:oops:
    Makson and namesrejected like this.
  17. willie48

    willie48 TS Rookie

    Maybe he means Lagrange points L2 for near Earth an L1 for near Mars. Not exactly half way. But at millions of miles from home, any old station will do.
  18. Ean Mogg

    Ean Mogg TS Enthusiast Posts: 37   +15

    Until Mars sorts out the total lack of Magnetosphere which in turn negates terraforming and in no way can support a viable colony I would go first to the Moon first and make a permanent Station there then the Asteroid belt which has more financial possibilities then the Moons of Saturn which are supposedly teaming with water and maybe seas but I still wouldn't put all my money on Mars.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2017
    Makson and mosu like this.
  19. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,304   +429

    I'm all for the go as long as it is for science. If it is for making celebs of the astronauts...nope.
    Read "Space" by Michener
  20. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,002   +2,532

    Oh man, don't tell that to the guy who thinks all you have to do is start a potato farm on Mars:
    Makson likes this.
  21. texasrattler

    texasrattler TS Addict Posts: 252   +76

    Love how NASA is trying to go to Mars when there is official documents from like the '70s that showed NASA had a planned mission to Mars. Forgot the name of the mission, im sure its out there on google.
    I believe that even NASAs own rover took a photo of itself what looks like a human repairing the rover, problem is that the rover was on Mars.

    Im sure humans have been to Mars n maybe even further. I have seen no reason that has said we havent or couldnt get to Mars a long time ago or today. The tech to get there has existed awhile dont let bs goverments or paid ppl say otherwise.

    In the end, its all just what you believe. Its no different than believing in god, either you believe or you dont.
  22. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Evangelist Posts: 813   +371

    I have always been for advancement, however, over the last couple years I have been changing opinions on what is considered "advancement". Now, having said that, let me state that I believe trying to get people to Mars is a waste of time for humanity AT THE MOMENT. Nothing will be gained besides more questions (as with all things). I am not AGAINST going, lets just worry about things that can make a REAL world difference here and now. Unless you can guarantee 1) the cure for cancer will be found on the surface of mars or 2) unlimited energy source will be discovered on mars or 3) world hunger will be eradicated then I can say AS OF RIGHT NOW going to Mars is all for show. 19 billion is both large and small at the same time, but it is HUGE when making a difference here at home rather then going of to a place with an almost ZERO ROI. As the old saying goes... "Get your head out of the clouds and back down to reality". Go, but go when it could be a better time.
    Makson likes this.
  23. 3volv3d

    3volv3d TS Addict Posts: 155   +59

    WTF? I really don't pay any attention to space travel, as they have no all inclusive bundles with Thompson or Lunn Poly holidays. But having read the conspiracy shizzle, that there is a radiation belt that at the time people failed to talk about that would have cooked the astronauts on the first moon landing, I have my doubts it actually happened. Doctored photos etc.

    The fact that if we could go up once you would think it would be done to death by now, and there would be a freaking theme park, which, last time I checked ... no no park. So back in the 60's though, 3 days. Todays rockets, a lil slower, probably a scenic route around the radiation, see the sites, take some photos? 300 days...
    Ha.... hahahahaha really?

    This just in, The Titanic, was actually on its way to the moon, when its rockets failed and it plummeted into the sea. That was the whole reason it was unsinkable, as it was never intended to be on water, it was a space vessel. Way ahead of its time. But you know how things go with Irish inventions... oops. Whale oil beef hooked!
  24. petert

    petert TS Addict Posts: 220   +63

    Reminds me of Soviet Union and the Stakhanovite movement - push it forward comrades, you can do it!
  25. cuerdc

    cuerdc TS Enthusiast Posts: 85   +10

    End of world date confirmed

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