The NASA is working on an ambitious project that will not only save them millions of dollars but will also speed up Martian exploration, and minimize potential landing risks.
Space.com reports how NASA intends to do this: they will have American astronauts land on either Phobos or Deimos, Mars’ natural satellites by 2033 then lift off for Mars by 2039.
This breakthrough exploration method requires four launches of NASA’s most advanced rocket booster — Space Launch System (SLS). The first launch which shall carry astronauts to the Mars orbit in less than four years is scheduled on 2029. This shall be followed by the second liftoff which shall transport the Phobos base, a human base camp that could accommodate four astronauts. Then, on 2032, NASA will launch SLS the third time to convey a deep-space habitat to the Earth’s orbit. The final launch would send the Orion capsule and four astronauts to the Phobos base. What follows is a 200 to 250 day trip to the Mars orbit, where the pre-placed Phobos Transfer Stage would carry the astronauts to the base in 2033 where they are expected to spend another 300 days before heading back to Earth. The Phobos base will remain for possible future use.
In a presentation with NASA’s Future In-Space Operations (FISO) working group, Hoppy Price of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory commented, “This Phobos base will prove out the method for getting to Mars orbit and back.It could happen in our lifetime and will not take a trillion dollars to do it.”
In March 2016, NASA will send InSight — Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, a Mars lander the size of a car, to investigate Mars’ interior and find clues that would hopefully reveal how rocky planets like Mars and the Earth were formed.
Modified from source: http://www.deccanherald.com/content/481742/nasa-working-ride-red-planet.html