WASHINGTON, U.S. - NASA officials have revealed that they cannot afford to send humans to Mars, quashing hopes of the human race touching down on the Red Planet anytime soon.
The statement puts the planned 2030s expedition on hold indefinitely as NASA’s chief of human spaceflight William Gerstenmaier declared, during a meeting of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, that it could not afford to get humans to Mars.
While talks of putting humans on Mars have been going on for years, Gerstenmaier has said, “I can’t put a date on humans on Mars, and the reason really is the other piece is, at the budget levels we described, this roughly 2 percent increase, we don’t have the surface systems available for Mars. And that entry, descent, and landing is a huge challenge for us for Mars.”
NASA has previously claimed that it was developing the capabilities and technology needed to send humans to Mars during the 2030s to explore the territory.
So far, the agency has spent a considerable amount of money on the Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft and now it has claimed that it doesn’t have the funds to build the machinery that will actually allow it to land on the planet and later take off.
Gerstenmaier has however said that another trip to the moon is a possibility, indicating that this setback doesn’t mean all space exploration is off the table for the agency.
He said, “If we find out there’s water on the Moon, and we want to do more extensive operations on the Moon to go explore that, we have the ability with Deep Space Gateway to support an extensive Moon surface program.”
Experts have pointed out that if NASA decides to partner with privately owned space exploration companies such as SpaceX, Blue Origin and Boeing, it could significantly reduce costs and put the mission back on track.