The mobile robot “Perseverance” of the US Space Agency (NASA) came after its successful landing Thursday on the surface of Mars, the fifth such vehicle to achieve the completion of the trip to the Red Planet. But the role of man has not come yet, and it is not expected that the date will be soon, despite the fact that human flights to Mars are an old goal set decades ago.
“By the middle of the third decade of this century, we may begin to use the means we use to reach the moon to send astronauts to Mars,” Acting NASA Director Steve Gorshik said Thursday.
And if the great technological difficulties have been nearly covered, many factors are still absent from the equation.
The journey to Mars takes about seven months, and the astronauts must spend 30 days there at the beginning, according to “NASA”.
The average temperature on the red planet is 63 degrees below zero, while there are many radiation, and the atmosphere contains 95% of carbon dioxide.
As for the gravity, it does not exceed 38% of the Earth’s gravity. But J. Scott Hubbard, who was working at “NASA” and led the first program related to Mars, said: “We learned a lot about microgravity thanks to the International Space Station.”
However, many techniques and equipment still need to be tested.
Perseverance carried several tools to Mars to prepare for future human missions, most notably a device the size of a car battery called “Moxie” that would try to produce oxygen directly on-site, by absorbing carbon dioxide from the Martian atmosphere, similar to what plants do. This oxygen will enable future human settlers to breathe, and it will also be used as fuel.
The “Artemis” program, which NASA focuses its efforts on in order to send astronauts back to the moon, is considered a test field for sending human missions to Mars.