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Man is Going to Mars with the Help of the International Space Station
April, 09 2011
NASA says that they are working on a plan to have man step foot on Mars by 2030 in cooperation with many other nations. together, with the help of the International Space Station, as a tool for testing and a jump off point, NASA feels confident that it will happen.
"The International Space Station is the centerpiece for our human exploration and our spaceflight endeavors in the coming decade," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden . "I like to say it's our anchor for the future of human exploration. The station is our start to the journey outward."
The International Space Station cost over 100 billion dollars and is the largest structure ever built in space. It was built in cooperation with 15 countries and five different space agencies. NASA isn't going to get to Mars on their own, it's going to have to be a worldwide endeavor taking billions of dollars to get there and the ISS is a promising look at what we can do when working together.
"Over the next 10 years, we'll continue to collaborate with other nations to live and work together in space, and perform cutting edge research and technology demonstrations that are critical to our eventual exploration into deep space with humans," Bolden said. "The ISS is the most realistic analog we have to test life support and other technologies, ensuring they function in space, and most importantly that they are reliable."
How Far Away is Mars and How to Get There?
Like all planets, Mars is on an elliptical orbit which means that it becomes farther and closer to Earth at different points of both of our orbits. In order to get there as quickly as possible and to use the least amount of fuel and supplies we have to time a trip to Mars perfectly.
The perfect launch window comes about every 1.6 years when the planets are going to be the closest to each other and if executed properly we should get to Mars in about 250 to 280 days. Unfortunately while on Mars the planets are still moving away from each other so in order to get back to Earth in a short amount of time we would have to stay on Mars for 4 months before taking off back to Earth.
Staying in space for long periods of time like a Mars mission would require puts tremendous strain on the human body. Bones begin to become frail because of the lack of gravity as well as muscles start to deteriorate including an important muscle the heart.
These are all problems that we all hope will be resolved in years to come and the International Space Station will likely play a large role in such breakthroughs.