I will join 11 senior NASA officials in a public forum about NASA’s exploration path to Mars. This will be another important opportunity for members of the NASA Family to learn how all of our exploration resources are being leveraged to support our bold human missions to an asteroid and Mars.
As you all know, NASA has been studying Mars for years. We currently have a fleet of robotic spacecraft orbiting and roving the planet, with more on the way. And now we are developing the know-how and technologies for the first human mission.
Our path to Mars begins in low-Earth orbit on the International Space Station. Here we are reliant on Earth for resources and support. What we’re learning with crews living and working there will teach us how to safely extend missions deeper into space.
Our next step is the proving ground of deep space, where we will capture and redirect an asteroid to orbit the moon, and then send humans to explore it. Here we will learn how to operate in deep space – farther from Earth than we’ve ever traveled, where we can test the capabilities we need to go even farther.
And then, in the 2030s, we will send humans to Mars, to pioneer humanity’s farthest reach into our solar system.
Our stepping stone approach is outlined in the chart below. I encourage you to study it, share it with your colleagues and refer to it when someone asks you to explain what NASA’s up to these days. It’s an ambitious exploration strategy that will only be successful with your support, enthusiasm and ingenuity.
We have a lot of hard work ahead of us. I appreciate all you are doing to help us chart and achieve our path to Mars. I hope to see you at the forum, either in person or on-line.
For information on NASA’s Path to Mars, go to: http://www.nasa.gov/exploration
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