The director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said his center is pressing ahead with work on current and proposed missions to Mars and Europa despite ongoing debates on Capitol Hill about funding some of those missions.
With time running out to start work on a 2022 Mars orbiter, a NASA official said July 10 the agency plans to have a “coherent Mars architecture” for future robotic Mars missions ready for presentation an at August committee meeting.
Despite uncertainty about the new administration’s plans for space, NASA and industry officials remained confident the agency remained on track to send humans to Mars in the 2030s.
The Canadian government will develop a radar instrument for NASA’s future Mars orbiter as well as 13 cubesats to be deployed from the International Space Station.
The next wave of missions creates communications challenges for NASA’s Deep Space Network
In a conversation with NASA astronauts on the ISS April 24, President Donald Trump called for a human mission to Mars by the end of his second term in 2024, a timeframe most in the industry do not consider feasible.
Heavy lift will enable science ranging from trips to Mars to bigger telescopes, speakers at Space Symposium said.
The agency said it will consider Mawrth Vallis, an area that once likely had liquid water, along with Oxia Planum.
"Perhaps there will be some future bill that makes a difference for Mars, but this is not it," he wrote.
A leading official in China’s lunar and Mars exploration program was reportedly denied a visa by the United States to attend a scientific conference here this week.
NASA issued an RFI in February seeking information from companies planning commercial Mars missions that can accommodate NASA payloads.