NASA talks the path to send humans to Mars

NASA has been working to develop the technology that will eventually be used to send humans to Mars and other places in the solar system. The goals of the mission to Mars and others were outlined in the US National Space policy that was issued in 2010. NASA says that astronauts living aboard the ISS are helping to prove many of the technologies and communications systems that will be needed for deep space missions, such as putting people on Mars.

The next major NASA mission will be sending a robotic spacecraft to capture and redirect an asteroid to orbit the moon. Astronauts will explore the asteroid in the 2020s and bring samples back to Earth. NASA also plans to test new propulsion systems, such as Solar Electric Propulsion that will be needed to send cargo to Mars as part of the human mission to Mars.

NASA's SLS (Space Launch System) will be ready to start sending these missions into space using the Orion capsule in the coming years. NASA uses the data gathered by the rovers and satellites already orbiting Mars to study things like radiation encountered on the way to the planet and on its surface to determine how to protect human passengers.

Future rover missions such as the Mars 2020 rover will look for signs of past life and demonstrate new tech that will help astronauts survive on the planet. NASA is working with international partners and the commercial space industry to expand human presence in the solar system.