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NASA’s ambitious and long-awaited plans to put a human being on the surface of Mars have hit a snag, according to representatives from the American space agency.
According to NASA’s chief of human spaceflight, William H Gerstenmaier, NASA simply will not be able to achieve their goal of launching a mission to Mars given their current budget constraints.
Budget constraints force NASA to put Mars mission on the back burner
NASA personnel have long expressed their desire to be the first agency in the world to put an astronaut team on the Red Planet, and the rest of the world has always believed that the agency would be the first to achieve this historic goal. However, the space agency does not have the autonomy to make this kind of operation happen on their own. NASA’s budget is strictly controlled by the American government, and therefore they are at the whim of political moods. At this current time, it appears that the Trump administration is not in the mood to prioritize an expensive mission to the Red Planet.
Given the decision by the government, NASA is looking to different avenues for its next major project. According to Gerstenmaier, the agency may now begin to pursue an extensive exploration of the Moon which will use the Deep Space Gateway, which is intended to be placed in the Moon’s orbit in the coming years, as a landing pad for space exploration in the future.
But while NASA may have been forced to put their dreams of exploring the Red Planet on hold, for the time being, other agencies are pursuing the goal of landing on Mars in earnest. Earlier this month, the CEO of Tesla Elon Musk announced that the SpaceX mission to Mars was gearing up to make a major announcement about its proposed manned mission to Mars in 2025. In addition to SpaceX, two other private companies – Boeing and Blue Origin – are also pursuing this ambitious goal. Given the current budget constraints on NASA, it now seems increasingly likely that these private companies could beat the renowned space agency to the punch.