NASA Chief Makes Boldest Claim Yet About People on Mars

Life on Mars may be much closer than we think.

While the topic of life on Mars is still up for debate, a number of prominent people are optimistic about the prospect.

One is Elon Musk, who, TheStreet’s Luc Olinga has extensively reported, is committed to bringing people to the red planet through his Space-X technology company.

And now NASA chief Bill Nelson says people living on Mars is very much a possibility. 

Speaking at an Axios conference on Wednesday, Nelson spoke to the recent advances NASA has made, including the Artemis program, which will return humans to the moon. 

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“We’ve already tested the rocket and the spacecraft,” Nelson said. That was a 26-day mission last November, and it passed all the tests. It was so good that we added additional tests during the course of the flight. 

“And so now we’re going to put a human crew on it. Check it out. It’ll be the first time that we’ve been back to the moon in a half century. And then, about a year after that, we go into the lunar polar elliptical orbit. And of the four, two will then transfer into the SpaceX lander, land, be a six-day mission on the surface, and that will be the first woman and the next man that will walk on the moon.”

That landing is slotted for 2025. And while it will be a technological feat in itself, NASA isn’t just shooting for the moon. It’s going even farther.

People Could Be on Mars Very Soon

Nelson also mentioned he expects people to be on Mars by 2040, and that the upcoming Artemis missions are critical for “testing of the human support systems,” in space.

Still, a lot needs to happen in the next 17 years. Nelson added that “space is hard,” and we still need to figure out some critical solutions for physical problems that tend to present themselves only in space. 

“You also have to wait until you know that it’s as safe as possible because you’re living right on the edge every time we launch in a very unforgiving atmosphere into a very hostile environment,” he said.

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