Permanent Mars colony is 'long way down the road,' NASA says

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The first NASA astronauts to set foot on Mars will aim to establish a research-and-operations base, not a permanently inhabited colony, agency officials say. According to NASA's current plans, the Mars outpost — which NASA hopes to set up by the end of the 2030s — will serve as a hub that accommodates astronauts on a temporary basis, said Ben Bussey, the chief exploration scientist in NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. A colony is "a long way down the road. No one's thinking of, on the NASA side, like a permanent human base," Bussey said Wednesday (March 16) during a presentation with the space agency's Future In-Space Operations (FISO) working group. "The idea here is that you would have your exploration zone that you set up for the first crew," Bussey added. "And that crew would leave, and then you send another crew at the next good launch opportunity. So it isn't permanently occupied, but it is visited multiple times." A permanently occupied Mars settlement may eventually grow out of NASA's crewed activities. But for several other organizations, a Red Planet colony is the explicit goal. Read More: Fox News

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