NASA established a “Moon to Mars” office that is dedicated to getting astronauts to Mars.
The creation was announced in a press release on Thursday. The new office is geared toward making plans for using the moon as a staging ground to send a human crew to Mars — a longtime goal of human space exploration. The office will focus on hardware development, mission integration, and risk management functions for “critical” programs surrounding the agency’s return to the moon and planned trips to Mars.
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“The Moon to Mars Program Office will help prepare NASA to carry out our bold missions to the Moon and land the first humans on Mars,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said. “The golden age of exploration is happening right now, and this new office will help ensure that NASA successfully establishes a long-term lunar presence needed to prepare for humanity’s next giant leap to the Red Planet.”
The office will focus on developing the “Space Launch System rocket, Orion spacecraft, supporting ground systems, human landing systems, spacesuits, Gateway,” and other related equipment.
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Former NASA acting Deputy Associate Administrator for Common Exploration Systems Development Amit Kshatriya was appointed to head the new office.
The Moon to Mars program was originally unveiled during the Trump administration. In 2017, then-President Donald Trump signed Space Policy Directive-1. It directed NASA “to lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities.”
Original Location: NASA establishes office dedicated to getting astronauts to Mars
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