December 03, 2017
HUMANS could be exploring Mars sooner than previously thought due to a revolutionary new plan being released next year detailing a “Deep Space Gateway”, it has been revealed.



NASA and 14 international space agencies will publish their common goals for exploration, including an extended presence in low Earth orbit, a habitat between the Earth and the Moon, lunar missions and missions to Mars.
NASA is also seeking domestic and international support for its conceptual “Deep Space Gateway”.
John Guidi, the advanced exploration systems deputy director for NASA, said: "We see an orbital platform as playing a vital and synergistic role with anything you do on the surface.”
For instance, reusable landers could move astronauts to the Deep Space Gateway which could serve as a jumping off point for exploration of Mars and nearby asteroids.

Mars is within reach after NASA announces revolutionary plans for deep space gateway

Mr Guidi added: "Cislunar orbit is the sweet spot. It's close enough to Earth and the moon but out of the gravity wells.”
NASA’s first flight of its heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS) with an Orion capsule is scheduled for as soon as late 2019.
Senior adviser for exploration and space operations at NASA Kathy Laurini, said: “It’s time to decide what we are going to do with these vehicles.
"We've been engaged with our international partners on how we'll use these to explore together.
"The Deep Space Gateway is a concept for government-led exploration endeavours.
"It is a commitment to being there. And because we are there, it will offer opportunities for commercial entities."
In an updated “Global Exploration Roadmap” being drafted by the International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG), it lays out a three-phase plan.
The starting point - phase zero - is ongoing research and testing on the International Space Station (ISS).
Then in phase one in the 2020s, international agencies will explore the moon.

Mars is within reach after NASA announces revolutionary plans for deep space gateway

During phase one, NASA will also work with partners to construct the Deep Space Gateway, a crewed outpost with less than 10 percent of the habitable volume of ISS.
Agencies will send robotic missions to the lunar surface and prepare for human lunar exploration.
By phase two in the 2030s, agencies will send exploration missions to orbit Mars.

Mars is within reach after NASA announces revolutionary plans for deep space gateway

According to current budget projections, Mr Guidi said NASA could launch one crewed SLS/Orion capsule flight per year with each Orion spending around 40 days at the Deep Space Gateway.
Four SLS missions in the 2020s will assemble elements of the Deep Space Gateway, including its power and propulsion bus, habitat, logistics module and airlock.
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