NASA Plans? Set Foot on Mars, Capture an Asteroid!
After initially cutting budgets deeply, the White House is freeing up a little more money for NASA.
The government's space agency has some big plans for what to do with the $17 billion proposed for 2014. NASA Chief Charles Bolden says is "human destiny" to set foot on the Red Planet, and believes a Mars expedition would clear the road for future deep space travel.
NASA also plans to capture and relocate an asteroid by the year 2025, a process officials say could generate a tremendous amount of data and information to help with deep space travel.
Bolden says the U.S. and the world are already capable of sending spacecraft to Mars, it's been done several times with the most recent visit being the Curiosity rover in 2012. The big obstacle now is designing a craft big and strong enough to send humans there. It would have to contain enough life support systems for the lengthy journey as well as fuel to get there and back. Experts say such a space vehicle would probably have to weigh in excess of 40 tons to carry all the necessary equipment and fuel!
Steps are already being taken to start the Mars process. U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly has volunteered to spend and entire year on the International Space Station, to test the effects of long-term zero gravity on muscles, bone density and vision. Currently, astronauts only spend up to six months in space.